The Texas Education Agency has released data that shows that 48% of Texas schools failed to meetfederal accountability standards for the last academic year. Although more than 3,700 schools and 339 school districts across the state managed to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress standards set out by the No Child Left Behind Act, it still means that nearly the same number failed to do so. This raises the concerns about the sanctions these schools will face if their fail to meet the AYP standards next year.
The AYP determination was based on test results from the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, a standardized exam first administered last year. The exam is used to measure achievement of students enrolled in grades 3 through 8. For those in 10th grade, scores from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills are used.
In order to be meet the 2012 AYP, 87% of students at a school must pass the reading portion of the exam and 83% of students must pass the math portion. The 2011 requirements were 83% and 75% passage rates, respectively. The formula to determine if a school attained AYP also takes into account the number of students who took the exam and and the school’s attendance and graduation rates.
The escalating AYPs are designed to have 100% of students testing at grade level for both reading and mathematics by 2014.
The goal of the AYP benchmarks is to have 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014.
Since the passing standards on those tests are not complete, the Texas Education Agency asked federal officials to hold off on AYP this year, but that request was denied. Because of the new STAAR system, the state is not issuing campus and district ratings this year.
Since the TAKS exam is being phased out in favor of STAAR, Texas education officials converted STAAR results into comparable TAKS scores to allow them to be compared to the results attained last year. The conversion formula was determined by a recently conducted bridge study.
In a statement, school district Superintendent Walter Dansby noted that the district is showing “important gains” but called the federal standards a “moving target.”
“Going forward the District has a new organizational structure recently put in place that it will leverage to focus on all areas of accountability to ensure success for all FWISD students in AYP and our state accountability results,” Dansby said.
The Texas Department of Education will be accepting school appeals on their AYP designations until September 7th. After decisions on the appeals are made, the final list of schools that met and failed to meet the 2012 AYP will be released in December.