State schools superintendent John Barge believes chances are “slim” that Georgia will meet the federal government’s No Child Left Behind 100 percent proficiency requirement in three years. The first-year superintendent made that clear Thursday when the Department of Education released 2011 AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress – and graduation rate reports.
Notably, the state did not release 2011 AYP results for the Atlanta Public Schools system which is embroiled in a test cheating scandal. The DOE website said results are being withheld until it “can determine which data are impacted by the investigation findings.” Some 179 educators were identified as possible test cheaters after a ten-month special prosecutors’ investigation.
AYP is the national education measuring stick created by No Child Left Behind. President George W. Bush signed controversial legislation into law nine years ago. It mandates that schools nationwide improve math, languages and graduation percentage rates in successive years for schools to be judged as having met Adequate Yearly Progress expectations.
During the 2002-2003 academic year an elementary school could meet AYP if 60 percent of third graders passed reading and language arts standardized tests. Today the minimum is 80 percent, next year 86.7 percent, one year later 93.3 percent, then 100 percent in 2014. The formulas are similar for all elementary, middle and high school AYP standardized tests.
In a statement that accompanied the report, Barge said, “The goal of 100 percent proficiency for all of our students by 2014 is well meaning, but because there are so many variables in the lives of children that schools cannot control, the likelihood of achieving this goal is slim. There is so much more to a school’s and a child’s progress than one test score at a single point in time.”
The state DOE reported the 2011 initial high school graduation rate was 79.5 percent, nearly identical to last year, but that bears discussion later. DOE said the percentage of schools statewide that made AYP declined to 63.2 percent from 71 percent last year. The percentage of schools graded “Needs Improvement” increased to 17.5 percent from 15.4 percent last year. Read more »
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