Preliminary release of the “Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP)” report reveals that the majority of schools in the Denton Independent School District have received the rating of “Meets AYP” in reading and math.
Fifty-four percent of the campuses met the AYP targets despite a substantial increase in the requirements. At the state level, 44 percent of the Texas campuses met AYP standards. Nineteen of the district’s 35 campuses, who are rated by the federal guidelines, received the Meets AYP rating.
Students across the district improved or maintained performance in all areas, yet the number of schools meeting AYP decreased from 2011 to 2012.
“This is ample evidence that the accountability system is flawed, not evidence that the vast majority of schools are failing. We need an accountability system that recognizes the great things our students and teachers are doing,” Superintendent Jamie Wilson said.
Ninety-three percent of the 12,454 students in the district who took the Reading/English/Language Arts assessment met the standards, while 88 percent of the 12,449 students who took the math met those standards.
“Our students are learning at higher levels than ever before, yet the system of accountability leads you to believe otherwise. This system is simply not fair to our hard working students and dedicated teachers." Dr. Wilson said.
Over the past three years, the AYP system of rating districts/campuses increased passing expectations by 16 percentage points in mathematics and 14 percentage points in reading/English/language arts.
In the 82nd legislative session, Texas public school funding was reduced by $5.4 billion - compared to what school districts had earned during the same two-year period under prior funding formulas. At the same time the state implemented a more rigorous testing program for all Texas students. The state is now grappling with several lawsuits over how it finances public schools.
Consequently, 72 percent of the school districts in Texas did not meet the federal requirements for AYP.
To calculate AYP at the district level, student data are aggregated by grade span groupings: elementary/middle (grades three through eight) and high school (grade ten), and then compared to the performance targets in reading and mathematics.
To make AYP, a school or district must meet performance targets established for students in reading and mathematics, as well as meet state guidelines for student participation, attendance, and graduation at the high school level.
“We think performance in writing, science, and social studies is just as important as performance in mathematics and reading, but those three areas are not evaluated in AYP,” Dr. Wilson said.
Under this federal school accountability system, a school or district this year met AYP requirements if:
· 87 percent or more of their students passed the state reading/English language arts test;
· 83 percent of their students passed the state mathematics test;
· 95 percent of their students participated in the state testing program and, depending on the grade level, had either a 75 percent graduation rate or a 90 percent attendance rate.
“Part of our analysis is to compare to the state and other districts, and then we can look at the curriculum and see what needs to be adjusted to prepare our students for an exam that is completely different from the one they took in the past,” Dr. Wilson said.
When AYP was rolled out as part of the NCLB in 2003, the established criteria was that 100 percent of students pass all tests on grade level by 2014. This includes special needs students, who by their varying needs are not usually on grade level, and will be considered as failing of they don't take a test on grade level.
The planned reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which the NCLB/AYP provisions are contained, is now five years overdue.