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 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about AYP


 

What is AYP?

AYP is one of the cornerstones of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). It is an annual measure of student participation and achievement of statewide assessments and other academic indicators. Accountability is key to NCLB - the State of Georgia, each local school district, and each individual school will be held accountable for the academic success of students. The federal law requires that each State set high academic standards and implement an extensive student testing program which is aligned with standards and which measures students' achievement based on the standards. AYP requires schools to meet standards in three areas: Test Participation (for both Mathematics and Reading/English Language Arts), Academic Performance (for both Mathematics and Reading/English Language Arts), and a Second Indicator. AYP holds each local school district and each individual school accountable for the academic success of students. AYP comprises one component of Georgia's Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS).

How does AYP fit into Georgia's Single Statewide Accountability System (SASS)?

Accountability is key to NCLB - the State of Georgia, each local school district, and each individual school will be held accountable for the academic success of students. The federal law requires that each State set high academic standards and implement an extensive student testing program which is aligned with standards and which measures students' achievement based on the standards. In Georgia, the Department of Education and Governor's Office of Student Achievement worked together with external stakeholders to develop a unified Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS) that integrates both federal and state requirements dealing with educational accountability. Schools receive a school profile that includes a Performance Index and Performance Highlights in addition to an AYP determination. SSAS is described in State Board Rule Chapter 160-7-1. This system makes the resulting rewards and consequences virtually identical for all Georgia Schools, both Title I and non-Title I. AYP prior to NCLB was only applicable to Title I schools. Now all schools and school districts are held accountable.

How do schools or school districts make AYP?

To make AYP, each school and district must meet the following criteria:

  • 95% Participation: Each school, as a whole, and all student groups with at least 40 members must have a participation rate of 95% or above on selected state assessments in Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics.

  • Annual Measurable Objectives: Each school, as a whole, and each student group meeting the minimum group size must meet or exceed the State's Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) regarding the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced on State assessments in Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics. For AMO, the minimum group size is 40 or 10% of the students enrolled in AYP grades, whichever is greater (with a 75 student cap).

  • Second Indicator: Each school must meet the standard or show progress on a Second Indicator. For Second Indicator, the minimum group size is 40 or 10% of the students enrolled in AYP grades, whichever is greater (with a 75 student cap).

In defining AYP, each state sets the minimum levels of improvement, based on student performance on state standardized tests, that school districts and schools must achieve within time frames specified in law in order to meet the 100% proficiency goal. These levels of improvement are known as Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) to ensure that all student groups, schools, school districts, and the State as a whole reach this goal by 2013-2014.

 

Georgia's plan for AYP allows great flexibility in how schools can demonstrate AMO. There are four ways:

  1. direct comparison of student performance to AMO;

  2. confidence interval;

  3. multiyear averaging and;

  4. safe harbor.

How will AYP and school accountability help ALL children learn?

In order to highlight the relative achievement levels of certain groups of students and hold schools accountable for closing any achievement gaps, NCLB requires every school, school district, and state to sort ("disaggregate") test results by the racial/ethnic category, disability, limited English proficiency, and socioeconomic status.

 

When student performance results on tests are analyzed by various student groupings, gaps in student performance become self-evident. The closing of these gaps is the mission of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education and becomes the focus of school improvement initiatives at the school and school district levels.

 

When schools or districts are identified for Needs Improvement, School Improvement teams will be assigned to assist the schools or districts in implementing consequences and to focus on the school's (or district's) strengths to overcome its weaknesses. Data-driven reform efforts will be the driving force to make changes for instruction for the students so that all students will have the opportunity for success.

What tests count toward AYP?

Georgia uses the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) as the AYP assessment tool for the elementary and middle school grades, the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) for high school, and the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) for the most severely cognitively impaired students.

What happens if a school or school district does not meet AYP?

Under NCLB, public schools and districts that do not meet AYP in the first year face no consequences. However, the school and/or district should develop/review its school and/or school district improvement plan.

Schools

Schools that do not meet AYP in the same subject for two or more consecutive years are placed in Needs Improvement status with escalating consequences for each successive year. Same subject is defined as two years of not making Reading/English Language Arts (participation or academic performance) or two years of not making mathematics (participation or academic performance) or two years of not making second indicator.

A Needs Improvement school is simply a school that has been identified as needing to improve in specific areas. Needs Improvement schools are NOT "failing" schools. Schools that do not make AYP for two or more consecutive years in the same subject are in need of improvement or are simply under-performing.

School-level consequences include:

  • School Choice

  • Supplemental Services/Instructional Extension

  • School Improvement Plan

  • Corrective Action Plan

  • Plan & Implement Restructuring Plan

School Consequences and How they Escalate for Each the Needs Improvement Status

School Districts

School districts that do not meet AYP in the same subject at both grade spans (elementary/middle and high) for two or more consecutive years are placed in Needs Improvement status with escalating consequences for each successive year. Same subject is defined as two years of not making Reading/English Language Arts (participation or academic performance) or two years of not making mathematics (participation or academic performance) or two years of not making second indicator.

A Needs Improvement school district is simply a school district that has been identified as needing to improve in specific areas. Needs Improvement school districts are NOT "failing" schools. School districts that do not make AYP for two or more consecutive years in the same subject at both grade spans are in need of improvement or are simply under-performing.

District Consequences and How they Escalate for Each Needs Improvement Status

How does a school or school district get out of Needs Improvement status?

Just as it takes two consecutive years of not making AYP to be identified for improvement under NCLB, it takes two consecutive years of making AYP for a school or district to move out of Needs Improvement status. If an identified school or district makes AYP for one year, it does not proceed to the next level of the school improvement (sanction) process (i.e., offering supplemental services, implementing corrective action, or restructuring, depending on the school's status). It continues to implement the interventions. If the school only makes AYP for one year and then fails to make AYP the next, it must continue implementing NCLB's school improvement consequences.