More students pass, but system falls short|All high schools fail to meet goals of No Child Left Behind

Published 8:37 am Thursday, July 23, 2009

Staff Writer

Students in more Beaufort County schools passed end-of-grade exams this year, but several schools and the system as a whole failed to meet their targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to a preliminary report released this week by Beaufort County Schools.
“There’s always work to be done, but there have been a lot of good things that have happened in the last year at Beaufort County schools,” said Public Information Officer Sarah Hodges. “Although Beaufort County did not make adequate yearly progress as a system in 2008-2009, there were notable improvements.”
Seven of 13 Beaufort County schools made adequate yearly progress for the 2008-2009 Academic Year, up from four schools in 2007-2008, according to the report.
Out of 54 target goals, schools in Beaufort County met 44 this year as compared to 39 in 2007-2008. And the school district met its goals for math in the third through eighth grades in 2008-2009 but did not for the year before, the report indicated.
Chocowinity Primary School is the only school in Beaufort County to meet all of its target goals for the two years covered in the local report. That school has met its target goals every year since 2002-2003, the first year figures were kept, according to N.C. Department of Public Instruction records.
One school — John Small Elementary School — will fall under additional scrutiny this year because it missed some of its goals for the second year in a row. Although it met its reading goals, the school failed to meet its mathematics goals, Hodges said.
Those schools meeting their goals for 2008-2009 were Bath Elementary School, Chocowinity Primary School, John C. Tayloe Elementary School, Northeast Elementary School, P.S. Jones Middle School and S.W. Snowden Elementary School.
Eastern Elementary School does not have grade three or higher, therefore, its adequate yearly progress is determined by the school their students subsequently attend. Since John C. Tayloe met its goals, Eastern Elementary also made adequate yearly progress.
Schools not meeting their goals were Chocowinity Middle School, John Small Elementary School, Northside High School, Southside High School, Washington High School and the Beaufort County Ed Tech Center, according to the report.
Signed into law on Jan. 2, 2002, No Child Left Behind requires states to annually administer standardized tests. School districts and individual schools that receive Title I federal funding must make adequate yearly progress in these test scores or face sanctions.
For example, each year, fifth-grade students must do better than previous years in these tests.
Schools receive Title I funds based on the percentage of their student enrollment that qualifies as low-income.
Under No Child Left Behind mandates, an individual school’s progress is determined by a combination of reading and math scores, graduation rates and attendance. Adequate yearly progress is determined by a school’s ability to meet its individual target goals, based on the student population at the school.
Schools evaluate students according to race, family income, English proficiency and other factors. If any group falls short on state reading and math tests, the school does not pass, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
If a school receiving Title I federal funds does not meet average yearly progress goals in the same subject for two years in a row, the school must offer its students transfer options. After three years, schools must offer special tutoring services.
Once a school fails to meet its goals, it must meet adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years before it is no longer required to offer school choice.
High schools found achieving adequate yearly progress more challenging in 2008-2009 because of state policy changes in the formula for determining adequate yearly progress, Hodges said.
Target goals are the percentage of students expected to meet or exceed proficiency in reading/language arts and mathematics each year. Target goals increase until 2014 when 100 percent proficiency is expected under No Child Left Behind mandates.
A final report on school progress will be released later this year, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Information on average yearly progress for schools statewide is available at