DOE says fewer Georgia schools are in Needs Improvement category after today’s release of the annual Adequate Yearly Progress report.
According to DOE:
Just over 14% of schools are in Needs Improvement status this year, compared to 15.4% last year. Thirty-five schools across the state shook the Needs Improvement label by having made AYP for two consecutive years.
“The initial AYP results demonstrate that our schools are more focused than ever and that is translating into fewer schools in Needs Improvement status,” said State School Superintendent Brad Bryant. “However, the academic bar and the graduation rate requirement increased this year, leading to a smaller percentage of schools making AYP, which is something we will focus closely on over the next several months.”
More than 71% of Georgia’s public schools made AYP, a drop from 79% of schools that made AYP last year. This drop is due in large part to the increase in the academic bar in mathematics that students in elementary and middle school had to meet in order for a school to make AYP. The graduation rate that high schools must meet also increased this year to 80%.
The final AYP report will be released in the fall and will include summer retest scores, summer graduates and appeals.
Compared to initial AYP results last year, the 2010 report shows that:
- The percentage of schools in Needs Improvement status decreased from 15.4% to 14.1%.
- The number of schools in Needs Improvement status decreased from 334 to 305.
- The percentage of schools making AYP decreased eight points from 79.1% to 71.1%.
The percentage of high schools making AYP continues to lag behind. In 2010, just over 33% of the state’s high schools made AYP, a decrease of almost 14 percentage points from 2009’s initial results.
“We know there is a lot of hard work going on in our high schools, but we must provide more focused support for our students and teachers,” Superintendent Bryant said. “I am committed to focusing on the needs of our high schools to ensure they are preparing students for the 21st century.”
AYP is the formula used to determine if schools are meeting expectations under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It consists of three parts — test participation, academic achievement and another statistic, called a “second indicator.” The academic goals continue to rise every few years toward a goal of 100% proficiency for all students by 2014. This year, the academic goal for grades 3-8 increased in mathematics and the graduation rate bar went up.
All students at a school, as well as any qualifying subgroup of students, must meet goals in all three categories in order to make AYP. Schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject are placed in Needs Improvement status and face escalating consequences.
There are 305 schools in Needs Improvement status for the coming school year. These schools must offer parents options, such as public school choice or federally-funded tutoring. Depending on how long these schools have been in NI, some may have to make structural or organizational changes to improve student achievement.
In 2009, there were 334 NI schools after the initial results. That number dropped to 278 after retests, summer graduates and appeals were worked into the formula.
“As we normally do, I believe we will see the number of NI schools drop again when we do our final AYP determinations in the fall,” Bryant said.
The state’s initial 2010 graduation rate is 79.9%. That is up from the initial 2009 graduation rate of 77.8% and the final 2009 graduation rate of 78.9%, which included summer graduates.
“Improving the graduation rate is crucial to Georgia being competitive with other states in recruiting and retaining jobs,” Superintendent Bryant said. “The more students graduating from high school with a meaningful diploma, the more students we have ready to go to college or enter the workforce. There is still more work to be done, but this year’s graduation rate is an encouraging sign.”
Graduation rate must be used as a “second indicator” for all high schools and the bar was raised this year.
In order to make AYP, a high school had to have a graduation rate of 80% or higher, up from 75% last year. If a school did not make that goal, they could use a “second look” which means:
- Having a graduation rate that averaged 80% or higher over the past three years OR
- Having a graduation rate of at least 60% the previous year (2009) and showing a 10% improvement in the rate this year.
Today’s AYP release sheds more light on the need for Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – No Child Left Behind. Even though both the Spellings administration and the Duncan administration at the U.S. Department of Education have worked to grant administrative flexibility, it has been insufficient to overcome the original accountability benchmarks established by Congress in 2001.
“As a state, we have no problem moving toward a proficiency rate of 100% – to do anything else would underserve a portion of Georgia’s students,” said Superintendent Bryant. “We are frustrated over the fact that the original authorization of No Child Left Behind came with the promise that it would be reauthorized in five years with increased flexibility in return for increased accountability. Once again we call upon Congress to act in a manner which supports the hundreds of thousands of teachers and school leaders across the nation who are more focused on student learning than ever before.”