83% of Alabama Schools Make AYP Sept. 2008- {#iBelieve}

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State Experiences 18 percent Decrease in High-Poverty schools needing improvement.
THE ACHIEVEMENT REQUIREMENTS continue to rise and Alabama’s public
schools respond to the challenge. In its fifth year of Adequate Yearly Progress
(AYP) implementation, most Alabama schools continue to increase student
performance and move toward reaching the ultimate goal of 100 percent student
proficiency as identified by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.
This year, 1,140 (or 83.4 percent) of Alabama’s 1,367 schools met 100
percent of their goals to achieve AYP. The news is good for Alabama’s Title I
schools (high-poverty schools that receive federal funding) as well. Alabama
experienced an 18 percent reduction in the number of Title I schools identified
as needing “school improvement.”
Overall findings are encouraging because the percentage of students
required to meet the proficiency rate was raised even higher in 2008. These rates
are known as “annual measurable objectives” and Alabama’s percentages
within its proficiency goals will continue to be raised each year. The national
target determined by NCLB is for all students to be proficient in reading and
mathematics by 2014.
Gov. Bob Riley said, “Alabama’s schools have made tremendous progress during the
past few years. Just four years ago, only 23 percent of schools met all their yearly
progress goals.This year, we’ve raised the bar again and saw a decrease in the number
of schools designated as needing ‘school improvement.’ If we continue to
expand proven programs like the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI), Alabama Math,
Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI), and ACCESS Distance Learning, we’ll
increase the quality of teaching and learning across this state.”
Of the 227 schools that did not make AYP, 134 schools achieved 90-99.99 percent of their individual goals, 54 made 80-89.99 percent, 17 made 70-79.99 percent, 12 made 60- 69.99 percent, and only 10 schools statewide achieved less than 60 percent. Mathematics Test (ARMT) – Grades 3-8, the Alabama High School Graduation
Exam (AHSGE) – Grade 11, and the Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA) – Grades 3-8 and 11. The AYP status of schools and school systems is based on achievement on assessments of the state’s academic content standards, participation rates on these
assessments, and meeting the Additional Academic Indicators (AAI) based on
attendance rates for elementary and middle schools and graduation rates for high schools. Schools and systems are required to achieve 100 percent of their AYP goals
Each school and system is measured based on the performance of a variety of groups in
their respective student populations. NCLB requires schools and systems to meet annual
goals in the academic achievement of the overall student population and by student
groups, including economic background, race/ethnicity, limited-English proficiency,
and special education. Depending on the student composition, a school can have from
five (minimum) up to as many as 37 goals.
Under NCLB, schools and systems must meet 100 percent of their respective annual
goals in all student groups to achieve AYP. Missing just one goal prevents a school or
system from making AYP. State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton pointed out that approximately 66 percent, or 150 schools, missed making AYP by only one goal. “The state Board of Education and I have offered suggestions for improvement to the No Child Left Behind law,”said Dr. Morton.
“As the U.S. Congress considers reauthorizing the law, one change we hope is made will be to consider different consequences for schools based on the degree to which they miss AYP. That way, if a school misses AYP in just one area, it is not treated the same as a school that misses it across the board.” Morton noted that over 97 percent of Alabama’s schools would score an “A” or “B.” Under a traditional grading scale 90-100 equals an A and 80-89 equals a B.
School Improvement There is a 10 percent decrease in the overall number of schools identified for School Improvement when compared to last year (153 in 2007 vs. 137 in 2008). The total number of schools identified as needing improvement also continues to drop. If a school does not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same component
(reading, mathematics, or AAI), the school enters School Improvement status. Schools missing AYP for at least two consecutive years will receive specific training and technical assistance through the State Support Team, which will help schools analyze their assessment data and develop a Continuous Improvement Plan.
Fewer Title I Schools Identified
For School Improvement Alabama evaluated 1,367 public schools, including 857 Title I schools, for the 2008-09 AYP status (based on 2007-08 data). Statewide, 137 schools have been identified for School Improvement. This year, 73 are Title I schools (compared to 89 last year) identified for School Improvement – an 18 percent decrease over last year.
Fewer Title I Schools Identified
For School Improvement Alabama evaluated 1,367 public schools, including 857 Title I schools, for the 2008-09 AYP status (based on 2007-08 data). Statewide, 137 schools have been identified for School Improvement. This year, 73 are Title I schools (compared to 89 last year) identified for School Improvement – an 18 percent decrease over last year.
Statewide Initiatives
“We still have work to do, but our statewide programs and initiatives are making
a difference in Alabama’s public schools,” said Morton. “The Alabama Reading Initiative
(ARI); Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI); and ACCESS (Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide) Distance Learning
have proven track records in school improvement and student success. Graduation
Coaches are in place in 24 pilot systems, and 38 local school systems are piloting Preparing Alabama Students for Success (PASS),” continued Dr. Morton. “Recently adopted programs such as FIRST CHOICE, Credit Recovery, Credit Advancement, On-Line
Learning, and Credit-Based Endorsement will further support schools, teachers, and students in Alabama.”