Understanding the Impact of (AYP) on Schools under “No Child Left Behind”

Transcribed Interview (2010)
Dr. Joseph B. Morton, State Superintendent of Education (Alabama) 
What specifically does AYP measure?
AYP measures a student’s ability to perform at grade level in math and reading and it is
established by Federal law to measure students in Grades 3-8 and one measure at the
high school level.
AYP stands for Adequate Yearly Progress and it indicates that the required percentage of students in those grades met the proficient level of reading and math as they were supposed to on a sliding scale trying to get us to 100 percent
proficient by the year 2014
and that is required by Federal law.
It appears the criteria for schools making AYP changes from year to year.
How is making AYP this year different from making AYP last year?
If you wanted to put it [AYP] in terms of an athletic event you can think of the high
And you might start out with the goal of the high jump being six feet off the ground, so you are going to start working with high jumpers and you are going to say, “O.K. at a certain point and time we are all going to be able to jump over this bar that is six feet off the ground – but we are going to start with the bar being three feet off the
Then every year, or every week if it were a high jumper, we are going to raise that bar a little bit but we are still going to make it so that everyone jumps over that bar at six feet.
The No Child Left Behind Act requires that every child be proficient, basically grade level, in Grades 3-8 and one time in high school in reading and math.
The No Child Left Behind Act enables each state to establish the beginning bar of Adequate Yearly Progress and then raise that bar each year as you get closer to the end bar of 2014.

We are doing that in Alabama, so every year the bar goes up and that means that a greater percentage of students in those grades have to be proficient in reading and math.

As we get closer to the bar being 100 percent, it gets more difficult – just as it would in the high jump. It is easier to jump three feet than it is four feet, and it is easier to jump four feet than it is five feet. Then you get to five feet and higher and you might make a one inch increase and that would be great but it still would not be the six foot goal.

We are approaching now in No Child Left Behind, nationwide and in Alabama, about the
midpoint of that bar. If it was a six foot goal, we are at about the four and a half foot
mark. You can imagine jumping four feet is harder that three feet but it is easier than six
It is a sliding scale and schools are doing a good job of meeting the bar. We may
have a percentage of schools that would be the same as last year that met the bar, but
that meant more students did make AYP because the bar went up.
Overall, what does this year’s report tell you about the direction in which
Alabama public schools are heading?
If we were trying to implement NCLB and did not have a state plan for how to get every child reading at grade level, or how to get every child doing math at grade level, or how to deliver coursework through distance education to rural areas where hiring teachers is a real problem, and there are shortages of teachers and maybe not enough students
to offer foreign languages… if we didn’t have a plan for any of that… then we would be failing the very students that we are trying to serve.
Fortunately, in Alabama, we have well-defined plans to make sure that every child reads at grade level by the end of the 3rd grade, to make sure that every child has exposure to curriculum rich instruction in math and science through the Alabama Math, Science & Technology Initiative, and that every child in high school can take virtually any course he or she wants to take through distance education if it is not offered by a teacher in their school.
Dr. Gloria Turner, Director of Student Assessment
What does it mean when a school/school system reports it did not make
AYP, which stands for Adequate Yearly Progress, describes whether or not a school has
met the goals that No Child Left Behind requires for that school.
AYP in other words, describes what happened in my school this year.
Did my school meet the goals required of No Child Left Behind?
Those goals include three areas; (1.) participation rate and the requirement is that there be at least 95 percent participation in the state assessments in Grades 3-8 and 11
(2.) Meeting the annual measurable objectives in Reading and Mathematics, so those are the test scores and those goals vary from year to year.
(3.) An additional academic indicator, which for elementary and middle schools is attendance, and at the high school the an additional indicator is graduation rate.
What are the consequences of not making AYP?
For a school that does not make AYP for the first year, the school would do a Needs
and would write a School Improvement plan that would address the reason for not making AYP.
Say in my school, I have 17 No Child Left Behind goals and I may meet 16 of those goals but I miss the proficiency scores for the free and reduced meal students, then my plan would include interventions and strategies for improving the scores for those students.
What happens to a school once it is in School Improvement?
School Improvement is a term that describes whether or not a school has made their
NCLB goals across time
-so it would look at whether I made AYP this year and whether I
made AYP in prior years.
If I have missed AYP for two consecutive years, I am put into school improvement?
I can be put into school improvement for three reasons.
(1.) My Reading Performance
(2.) My Mathematics Performance or
(3.) My Performance on the
additional academic indicators
(4.) again I would look at the reasons that caused me to be put into school improvement and put into place the interventions that would address that.
That could be something like professional development for the staff.
I’ll look at the
curriculum and instructional programs, supplemental educational services; those are some of the interventions that could be put into place to address the needs of the school.
How can a school get out of School Improvement?
Just as it takes two years of not making AYP to be put into School Improvement, a
school must make AYP for two consecutive years to come out of School Improvement.
Dr. Deann Stone, Director of Federal Programs
What is School Choice?
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that all Title 1 schools that are designated for improvement to offer School Choice.
That means that parents have the opportunity to Transfer their students to higher performing schools within the district.
How does a school become eligible for School Choice?
Schools that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years are
identified for improvement and in the case of Title 1 schools and in the event that they are designated for improvement, the district must offer the student the opportunity to transfer to a higher performing school within the district.
What if there are no qualified schools to transfer to?
In the event, there are no schools to which the student may transfer to within the
Then the district must offer the student free after-school tutoring, known as supplemental education services.
The district notifies parents in writing at the beginning of the year that since no Choice options are available within the district, then the parents may opt to select supplemental educational services.
What steps are being taken by the state Department of Education to help
schools that do not make AYP reach their goals?
The department has several strategies for meeting the needs of schools in
The number one strategy we use within the department is the accountability roundtable that is an opportunity for all sections within the department
to come together and collaboratively define individual section efforts for assisting school-specific needs.
What steps are being taken by the state Department of Education to help
schools that do not make AYP reach their goals?
(1.) Schools in districts that are identified for year one improvement or year two
improvement or year three corrective action may take advantage of the continuous
improvement residency program.
This is specialized training at the district level to to support schools in improvement in the hopes that we would be able to turn around the low performing schools before it moves further into improvement status.
In the event a school or district reaches year four planning for restructuring or year five improvement restructuring, (2.) We assign peer mentors, outstanding teachers to provide daily support within the school to address those areas of need.
(3.) We also have regional school improvement coaches that are assigned to districts within the region to help strengthen the capacity of the LEA in supporting schools in improvement.
What are Supplemental Educational Services and how do parents take
advantage of them?
Supplemental Education Services (SES) is free after-school tutoring for eligible students attending Title 1 schools identified for improvement.
A district set aside Title 1 funds every year for this purpose and they notify parents in
writing, either through a letter, radio announcement or flyers that the option for SES is
available. Schools in districts that are in year one of improvement must offer School
Choice, but in the event School Choice is not available, they may opt for SES.
Schools identified for improvement year two and beyond must offer SES and the district must also provide an opportunity for the parent to learn more about the after-school tutoring and to even select the service provider for their student that best meet their needs.
Since all students are not eligible for SES that attends Title 1 schools, the parents should contact the district to learn more information.

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