Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Making AYP under NCLB- Increasingly Improbable as Nation Approaches 2014

There has been much discussion about some of Hoboken's K-8 school's not achieving adequate yearly progress (AYP) as mandated by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. To be sure, this is certainly an issue we must address with sound instruction, new curriculum and individualized instruction when appropriate and needed. However, it is also vital to understand some of the mathematically impossible aspects which all schools in the city, state, country face in trying to meet AYP by the year 2014 (again, as mandated in NCLB). In my opinion, there is no reason to believe that the issues facing California will be unique to California and the increasing improbability of ANY state meeting 100% AYP by 2014 is assured. This is not to say that all aspects of NCLB have not had some positive impacts--but the accelerated rate by which states must raise yearly thresholds to reach 100% by 2014 is now unrealistic. In part, this was due to low early thresholds that were instituted at the beginning of 2002 when NCLB was first enacted. 

Please spend some time reviewing this summary of a study done in California recently by a team of researchers. The results were published in SCIENCE magazine---one of the premier research journals in the world on scientific research. I believe it provides some interesting insights to the statistically impossible AYP thresholds that are about to kick in within the next 18-36 months. My hope is that the current administration pushes back the 2014 100% target date by at least 5 years. Currently, there is no formal discussions concerning this issue.  

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) used state assessment data reported for the school years 2002-2003 through 2006-2007 to project the growth in student proficiency through 2014. Data was drawn from more than 4,900 California elementary schools. The researchers used three different growth models (represented by the blue, grey and green lines) to project average annual growth in proficiency for mathematics (solid lines) and English language arts (dotted lines). Models are plotted out to 2014 to illustrate that the available data (through 2007) does not indicate the accelerated growth in proficiency required to meet legislated goals of NCLB. California's benchmarks for adequate yearly progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind are shown in the red lines (New Jersey's benchmarks are similar but not exactly the same--but close enough to draw a valid comparison). More information on this research appears in the Sept. 26, 2008, edition of Science magazine. (Credit: University of California, Riverside)

The researchers report in the Sept. 26 issue of Science that mathematical models they used in their analysis predict that nearly all elementary schools in California will fail to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements for proficiency by 2014, the year when all students in the nation need to be proficient in ELA and mathematics, per the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" (NCLB).

Under NCLB, AYP measures a school's progress toward meeting the goal of having 100 percent of students meet academic standards in at least reading/language arts and mathematics. AYP constitutes a series of calculated academic performance factors for each state, local education agency, school, and numerically significant student subgroup within a school.

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Click on picture to enlarge.

For more detailed information please see this article in ScienceDaily.

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