Schools face sanctions
Published 1:00 am Friday, July 22, 2011
Students at only two Beaufort County public schools met targets on their end-of-grade exams this year, and the system as a whole failed to meet its targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by Beaufort County Schools.
As a school system, Beaufort County Schools did not make its goals for the 2010-2011 school year and only two of 14 schools met 100 percent of the federal markers. This was a decrease from 2009-2010 when four of 14 schools met their goals and from 2008-2009, when eight of 14 schools met their goals, according to the report.
Four of the system’s schools now face sanctions because of their low scores on mathematics tests, local school officials said Thursday.
Chocowinity Primary School met its goals for the ninth year in a row, with 17 of 17 groups represented at the school meeting their end-of-grade test targets, according to the report.
Beaufort County Early College High School was the only high school in the county to meet its goals, with five of five groups represented at the school meeting their end-of-grade test targets, according to the report. This is the second year in a row the high school met its goals. It was also credited with testing success as a “special evaluation school” the first year it participated.
This year, North Carolina’s target goals increased to move the state closer to the federal required 100-percent target for the 2013-14 school year.
And with increasingly difficult targets to meet, public-school officials predicted that more schools would fall short of making their end-of-grade targets, known as adequate yearly progress, or AYP.
“We are proud of the results of our schools that met AYP. They have done a wonderful job, however, I do not want to use AYP as the sole indicator of a school’s success,” said BCS Superintendent Don Phipps in a press release announcing the results. “A better indicator is a measure that will consider where a student or group of students started at the beginning of the school year and where they finish at the end. This growth calculation shows that learning has occurred.
“It is true that schools that do well on AYP will likely do well in other assessment models, but there are too many issued with AYP for it to be the sole determination of school or school system success.”
Schools not meeting their goals were Bath Elementary School, Beaufort County Ed Tech Center, Chocowinity Middle School, John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School, John Small Elementary School, Northeast Elementary School, Northside High School, P.S. Jones Middle School, Southside High School, S.W. Snowden Elementary School and Washington High School, according to the report.
Eastern Elementary School does not have third grade or higher, therefore its AYP is determined by the school its students subsequently attend. Since John Cotten Tayloe School failed to meet its goals, Eastern Elementary also failed to meet its goals, according to the report.
John Small Elementary School will begin a restructuring plan, according to the report. BCS will provide additional support to revamp instruction or teaching practices to improve the school’s math scores, according to the report.
Eastern Elementary, John Cotten Tayloe Elementary and S.W. Snowden Elementary schools will enter the first year of sanctions, known as School Improvement, because of the schools’ low test scores in math, according to the report.
After the State Board of Education certifies the test results Aug. 4, parents of students attending the four schools facing sanctions will be contacted by local school officials, according to the report.
This is the third consecutive year that Beaufort County Ed Tech Center, Chocowinity Middle School and Northside High School did not meet their goals, the seventh year in a row that Southside High School did not meet its target goals and the ninth year in a row that John Small Elementary School and Washington High School did not meet their target goals, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction figures tracking results since the 2002-2003 school year.
Signed into law on Jan. 2, 2002, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as 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 those test scores or face sanctions.
For example, each year, fifth-grade students must do better than previous years in those tests. Schools receive Title I funds based on the percentage of their student enrollment that qualifies as low-income.
Under No Child Left Behind, 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, under No Child Left Behind.
This all-or-nothing approach to goals has led educators nationwide and members of the Obama administration to consider broad changes in how schools are judged to be succeeding or failing under No Child Left Behind as well as for the elimination of the law’s 2014 deadline for bringing every American child to academic proficiency.
“No Child Left Behind is designed so that schools that miss their AYP target with only one group of their students are considered to have missed the AYP target overall,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson in a press release announcing the results. “This ‘all or nothing’ structure of the federal law guarantees that we will see an increasing number of schools missing the elusive ‘Met AYP’ designation.”
Several Beaufort County schools have missed AYP targets by only one group in recent years, falling victim to the “all-or-nothing” stipulations in the current law, according to current and historic reports.
For the 2010-2011 school year, Northeast Elementary School missed testing goals by only one target. In the 2009-2010 school year, three schools — the Ed Tech Center, John Cotten Tayloe Elementary and Northside High schools — missed AYP targets by one group. In the 2008-2009 school year, John Small Elementary School missed AYP targets by only one group. In the 2007-2008 school year, Bath Elementary School fell one group short of AYP targets, and in the 2006-2007 school year, Bath Elementary School and the Ed Tech Center were one group short of target goals.
“I continue to believe that this method of labeling schools is unfair and unrealistic because there is no recognition for schools that are making significant progress and performing well with nearly all of their students,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson said she hopes this issue will be addressed when the ESEA is re-authorized by Congress.
ABCs of AYP
What is adequate yearly progress?
Adequate yearly progress, or AYP, measures the yearly progress of different groups of students at the school, district, and state levels against yearly targets in reading/language arts and mathematics. Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, all students in the third through eighth grades and the 10th grade must be proficient in reading and mathematics by the end of the 2013-14 school year.
How is performance measured?
Performance is tracked by a variety of student groups, including the school as a whole, white, black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, mixed race, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient and students with disabilities. For a school to make AYP, proficiency targets must be met by each subgroup present in the school in sufficient numbers. This year, North Carolina’s target goals increased to move the state closer to the 100 percent proficiency target set for the 2013-14 school year. As a result, for a North Carolina public school to make target goals in the 2010-11 school year, 71.6 percent of students in each subgroup in the third through eighth grades must be proficient in reading and 88.6 percent must be proficient in mathematics. For students in the 10th grade, 69.3 percent of each subgroup must be proficient in reading and 84.2 percent must be proficient in mathematics. In comparison, in the 2009-10 school year, the target goals for elementary and middle school were 43.2 percent in reading and 77.2 percent proficient in mathematics. For 10th-grade students, the targets were 38.5 percent proficient in reading and 68.4 percent proficient in mathematics.
What happens if a school doesn’t reach AYP goals?
Title I schools and school districts are especially affected if they do not make AYP. About half the schools in North Carolina receive Title I funding, as do all 115 of the state’s school districts. Sanctions include offering students the choice to attend another school, providing supplemental educational services at no cost to qualifying students and other measures. Once a school fails to meet its goals, it must meet adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years before it is no longer sanctioned, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.