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 Maine Department of Education

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Communications Tools

October 20, 2003

 

Frequently Asked Questions on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

 

Why did so many Maine schools not make AYP this year?

Using Maine’s previous criteria for AYP, which was based on the number of students in the lowest performance category (Does Not Meet Standards), the number of schools was much lower, usually from 15-25.  This year, however, using the new criteria required under NCLB, significantly more schools did not make AYP.  The new federal criteria set as a starting point the proficiency level at the 20th percentile of student enrollment across the State.  Therefore, one would expect that a minimum of 20% of schools in the State would not make AYP.  In addition, the same performance target is set for whole group and identified sub-groups in each school, thereby creating an even larger number of ways to not make AYP.  Schools must meet performance targets and a participation target of 95%, in Reading and Mathematics for whole group and 6 subgroups on the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA).

 

Of the schools in Maine not making AYP, how many missed the 95% participation rate target?

Using the preliminary numbers recently released to Maine school districts, before any appeals have been considered, a significant number of schools did not make AYP due to participation rates only. The 95% participation rates apply to either the whole group or one of the subgroups.  For most schools, this new requirement will be a straightforward problem to address.

 

How does Maine compare with other states around the county in the percentage of schools that did not make AYP this year?

The new federal criteria created widely varying results when applied across the nation.  Each State develops its own accountability plan and its own formula for AYP within the guidelines set by the Federal government.  However, since the starting points for achievement are set according to the criteria above, many States are finding results very similar to Maine:

 

STATE

TOTAL # OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS

# OF SCHOOLS NOT MAKING AYP AT LEAST ONE YEAR

% OF ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS

AL

1,547

47*

3.0%

AK

488

283

58.0%

AZ

1,800

444

24.6%

AR

987

208

21.1%

CA

7,145

3,219

45.1%

CT

964

149

15.5%

DC

148

15*

10.1%

DE

171

98

57.3%

FL

3,179

2,770

87.1%

GA

1,998

846

42.3%

HI

280

180

64.3%

ID

648

473

72.9%

IL

3,911

576*

14.7%

IA

1,521

12*

0.8%

KS

1,409

216

15.3%

ME

735

190

25%

MD

1,403

511

36.4%

MN

1,772

144

8.1%

MS

870

438

50.3%

MO

2,055

1,033

50.3%

MT

860

159

18.5%

NV

517

256

49.5%

NJ

1,083 Middle/ High Schools

623 Middle/
High Schools

57.5% of Middle/
High Schools

NM

741

164

22.1%

NY

4,296

715

16.6%

NC

2,251

1,195

53.1%

ND

497

94

18.9%

OH

3,859

829

21.5%

OK

1,801

353

19.6%

OR

1,220

365*

29.9%

PA

2,786

1,080

38.7%

RI

313

119

38%

SC

858 Elementary
/Middle schools

657 Elementary/
Middle Schools

76.6%

SD

737

32*

4.3%

TN

1,650

711

43.1%

TX

7,773

1,000

12.9%

VA

1,822

732

40.2%

WA

1,955

436

23.3%

WV

728

326

44.8%

WI

2,204

194

8.8%

WY

357

55

15.4%

* State only released list of schools not making AYP for two or more years, and did not release list of schools not making AYP for just one year.

 

 

Is the number of schools not making AYP likely to grow in future years?

Yes.  The starting points for achievement are for the first two years only.  In subsequent years, the achievement targets increase from their current level to 100% in school year 2014.  Thus, as the performance target percentages increase, it is expected that the number of schools not making AYP will increase, particularly in the years closest to 2014.  However, as schools address the participation rate issue, it is likely that the number of schools who do not make AYP for participation will decrease.

 

Has the large number of schools not making AYP this year around the country had an impact on a political level in Washington D.C.?

Yes.  Increasingly, educators and policymakers alike have raised concerns that NCLB is having a negative impact on education, rather than the positive impact hoped for by Congress.  Several lawsuits are moving toward the courts, and numerous amendments to the law will be introduced in the weeks and months ahead.  Concerns have been raised both about NCLB’s accountability structures and the level of funding provided to States to implement the law.

 

Are there other indicators of how Maine schools are doing that give a different picture than No Child Left Behind and AYP figures?

Yes.  Maine students compare favorably to students nationwide on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test.  In recent years, Maine has consistently ranked in the top 10 states on NAEP tests in reading, math, and science.  In addition, in 1999 Maine was ranked the top performing educational system by the National Goals Council. 

 

What criteria are used to determine if a school does not meet AYP?

Schools must meet identified performance targets in Reading and Mathematics for the whole group plus each identified sub-group.  A minimum of two years of MEA scores is used to determine school or sub-group status for performance.  Schools must also ensure that 95% of the whole group plus 95% of each sub-group participates in the test.  Finally, schools with 4th and 8th grades tested must meet a third target of Average Daily Attendance, while high schools must meet a target for graduation rate.  Maine’s performance targets are as follows:

 

Maine Starting Point Targets: 2003-2004 and 2004-2005

Subjects

Grade 4

Grade 8

Grade 11

Reading

34%

35%

44%

Mathematics

12%

13%

11%

 

 

What criteria are used to determine if a district does not meet AYP?

Districts did not make AYP if the performance of a group does not reach performance targets when added up across all the schools in a district (not Union).  Districts are also held accountable for the 95% participation standard. Although it seems paradoxical, a district can be identified as not making AYP even though no school in that district was identified. For instance, if the number of Limited English Proficient students in several small elementary schools is below 41 in each school, the LEP group is statistically undetermined for participation in these schools. When the schools are combined for the district computation and the number adds up to over 41 or more, and, as a group, their participation rate is below the participation target of 95%, the district does not make AYP.

 

What sub-groups of students in Maine schools are included in AYP calculations?

Maine’s sub-groups are:  Special Education, Low-Socio-Economic Status, Limited English Proficient, and racial-ethnic minorities of Black, Native American, and Multi-ethnic.

 

How do students who took part in the alternate assessment PAAP process figure into these calculations?

NCLB requires that all students be included in the accountability system, even those students who traditionally were excluded from testing.  NCLB permits 1% or less of a State’s students to be assessed with alternate standards, using an alternate form of assessment.  Maine’s Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio process (PAAP) serves this purpose.  The scores from last year’s PAAP are not available, and are therefore not yet included in performance calculations for AYP.  PAAP students have not been included in determining participation rates as yet, so schools must include the information about these students in the appeal process to accurately determine school and district AYP status. In the meantime, we have received data on this from Measured Progress and are cross-referencing with school and district participation rates. It is still important for superintendents to provide this information on the Appeal Form as a check and balance.

 

Why did the Maine Department of Education not release the preliminary list of schools to the media when this information was sent to local districts?

The school reports that were sent to local school officials on October 10th were based on preliminary AYP status, pending several types of reviews that must be conducted at both local and State levels.  At the local level, school officials are encouraged to review MEA reports to identify students who were enrolled for less than a full academic year, since schools need not include them for accountability purposes.  At the State level, MEA data, PAAP participation and other non-academic indicators must be reviewed for accuracy based on appeals from local districts.

 

If local school officials appeal the accuracy of the initial AYP status, will the school still be on the list that is announced if the appeal has not been reviewed?

Maine DOE will make every effort to withhold from all public announcements school and district status under appeal.  However, two Freedom of Access requests have currently been filed with the Department which request all information that has been sent to local districts about AYP status to date.  If the information must be released to the media, the Department will make every effort to clearly identify data on school status that are considered to be either preliminary or under appeal.  

 

Since some of the MEA data developed by Measured Progress and used by Maine DOE to calculate AYP was inaccurate, will Maine DOE produce new school report forms?  If so, when will those be sent to local districts?

Yes. New reports will be produced and sent to districts as quickly as possible.

 

Why was Internet access used as the indicator of low-income family status?  Will it be used in the future?

Internet access at home was used as a proxy for low-income status because it is the only available data collected with the MEA. Maine’s early NCLB accountability plans made the argument that since no reliable income data are available, Maine should not have to include this sub-group in our AYP calculations this year.  However, Maine was not given a waiver on this request.  In the future, Maine DOE will attempt to use free and reduced lunch data, perhaps obtained through MEDMS, to reliably determine low-income status.  In the meantime, Maine DOE will request data files from Measured Progress on individual student responses to the Internet Access question to provide to districts where school or district AYP status was determined by this sub-group alone.

 

How will the Department deal with full academic year (FAY) calculations in the future?

Entry, transfer and exit dates will be included in the MEDMS data and matched to individual MEA scores.

This information will be gathered at the time of the test to avoid the necessity to review test results in comparison to enrollment data.

 

My district has a K-3 structure. My fourth grade did not make AYP. Does that mean that the K-3 school did not make AYP?

If all of your K-3 schools feed into a common school that includes grade 4, and that school did not make AYP, then all K-3 feeder schools are considered to have not made AYP as well.  Alternatively, if K-3 schools feed into different schools with grade 4, and the grade 4 schools have different AYP status, only the feeder schools to the school or schools not making AYP are considered to have not made AYP.

 

My district has five schools with eighth grades. Do they make AYP if my high school did not make AYP in math?

Since AYP status is determined at the 8th grade level, high school AYP status is independent of 8th grade status.  The five schools with 8th grades will have their AYP status determined by the performance of the 8th graders on the MEA math test. 

 

The previous criteria focused on the % of students in the Does Not Meet category; now we are using the % meets the standard. Why the change?

This requirement is part of the No Child Left Behind Act.  States must determine AYP status based on the percentage of students at or above the State’s proficiency level, which in Maine is the combination of Meets Standards and Exceed Standards levels.

 

How long do the current target scores remain in effect?

The current target scores (see above) remain in effect for this year.  The increase in the performance target is determined based on a specific trajectory for each subject and grade level tested. 

 

My school is on the AYP Monitor list. What do I need to do?

Schools should review their AYP Report, MEA common item report and other local assessment data and review their Comprehensive Education Plan to improve student performance this year. While it takes two years of not making AYP in whole group or any subgroup to be identified as a Continuous Improvement Priority School (CIPS), it also takes two years of making AYP in every subgroup to be removed from CIPS status.

 

What is the timeline for next year?

NCLB requires that AYP status and the consequences of CIPS status are in place prior to the beginning of the school year. This year a waiver for later dates was granted because of the time necessary for year one of this process.

 

Are numbers rounded in calculating participation rates? 

Yes, all calculations are rounded to the nearest whole number.

 

How long can a school make AYP by using safe harbor?

Safe harbor recognizes schools for improvement when they reduce the number of students in the Does Not Meet category of the MEA by 10%. Large schools may be able to make AYP by safe harbor for several years in one area as long as they make AYP in the other two academic indicators. Small schools will reach the actual performance target within one or two years of making safe harbor.