• 59°

Scores show

some schools

need to improve

by theresa swope/News Editor

MONTGOMERY – Five area schools have been identified as needing school improvement, including Linden High School and Eutaw Primary School. The identification was made during the State Board of Education’s yearly progress report on Alabama schools.

For the first time in the state’s history, schools and local school systems across Alabama are receiving status reports that include adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations as required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

According to reports released Thursday by the Alabama Department of Education, schools and systems are being measured based on the performance of their students taking criterion-referenced assessments, which were given in the spring of 2004.

Eutaw Primary School was cited as having not made its AYP, while the other schools – Linden High School, Amelia L. Johnson High School in Marengo County, and Livingston High School and York West End Junior High School in Sumpter County – are in the process of restructuring.

AYP designations for Alabama schools and school systems are determined primarily by student achievement and participation rates in statewide testing, including the new Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test (ARMT), the Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE), and the Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA). Results from these assessments were included in determining if schools/systems met their NCLB goals.

The status of schools and systems is based on achievement on assessments of the state’s academic content standards, participation rates on these assessments, and attendance rates (elementary and middle schools) and drop-out rates (high schools). Depending on the makeup of the student population and the number of students in a specific group, most schools and systems will have from three to 38 AYP goals.

In accordance with NCLB and U. S. Department of Education (USDE) regulations, if a school does not make AYP within any one of its goals, the school is considered not to have made AYP. Using this determination, results conclude that 319 out of 1,361 Alabama public schools met 100 percent of their AYP goals while 595 schools met at least 80 percent of their goals. Further analysis determined that 949 schools, or nearly 70 percent of all public schools, met 100 percent of the AYP goals for reading and mathematics. As a result of the 95 percent participation rate requirement, many schools narrowly missed making AYP due to participation but will not enter into “School Improvement” status unless they do not make AYP for two consecutive years. It is expected that in 2005 virtually all schools will meet the required participation rate.

“Alabama continues to move forward to better identify our strengths and weaknesses in educating the next generation,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joseph B. Morton. “This information allows educators and parents to know who is succeeding and who is struggling and to provide targeted assistance to help all children to be academically successful. It allows us to work smarter in closing the achievement gap and to help ensure all students reach their full potential.”

Under NCLB, if a school or system does not meet all of its goals, it is considered to have not met AYP. The Alabama Department of Education has identified low-performing schools that will be required to receive academic assistance from the state.

Locally, Eutaw Primary School and Amelia L. Johnson High School have been identified as needing academic assistance.

These are schools that had the lowest percentage of students scoring proficient or are Title I schools that have been in School Improvement for multiple years. These schools will receive specific training and technical assistance for analyzing their assessment data and developing a school improvement plan that includes best practices as learned from the Alabama Reading Initiative and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative. Thirty-seven schools, all of which are Title I, are identified for state academic assistance.

Results of all tests and a listing of all schools, including Title I schools, and their respective status can be found on the Alabama Department of Education’s Web site at www.alsde.edu under “2004 Accountability Reporting System.” An online tool provides overall results for the state, as well as individual schools and systems. Web users also are able to view detailed information on all the categories for which data are made available and to view past years’ data.