7/20/11 Student progress data to be released

Student progress data to be released
Preliminary results may show fewer schools measure up
By Mike Wilder The Times-News 7/20/11     
Reprinted with permission.

 State education leaders expect fewer schools to meet federal standards this year as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

 The Alamance-Burlington School System, along with others in North Carolina, will release preliminary student achievement results Thursday. A news release from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction said fewer schools will likely meet federal standards because requirements for reaching the standards became more difficult from 2009-10 to 2010-11.

 Information released Thursday will show which schools made what is known as adequate yearly progress and which did not.

 Schools are designated as making adequate yearly progress based on the percentage of students scoring at or above the proficiency level on tests given at the end of the year for elementary and middle school students and at the end of courses for high school students.

 Besides enough students reaching proficiency among the student body as a whole, students in subgroups based on ethnicity, income-level, English proficiency and disability level must meet standards in order for a school to make adequate yearly progress.

 This year, the percentage of students required to achieve proficiency in order for a school to make adequate yearly progress goes up. In grades 3 through 8, 71.6 percent must be proficient in reading and 88.6 percent must be proficient in math. That’s up from the 43.2 percent required to be proficient in reading and 77.2 percent required to be proficient in math for 2009-10.

 For students in grade 10, 69.3 percent must be proficient in reading and 84.2 percent must be proficient in math. That’s up from 38.5 percent required to be proficient in reading and 68.4 percent required to be proficient in math.

 The increases are in line with No Child Left Behind’s goal of having all students achieve proficiency by the end of 2013-14, according to information from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

 Critics have said the No Child Left Behind model can make good schools appear to be struggling because of the all-or-nothing model. A school can meet every student performance goal except one and still fail to make adequate yearly progress.

 “With increasingly difficult targets to meet,” the N.C. Department of Public Instruction said, “it is likely that more schools will fall short of making adequate yearly progress.”