More Than 79% of Georgia Schools make AYP

Press Release

ATLANTA - More than 79% of Georgia's public schools made Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, according to initial results released today -- a 10 point jump over 2008. 

Additionally, 58 schools across the state shook the "Needs Improvement" label by having made AYP for two consecutive years. 

"The initial AYP results demonstrate that our students are continuing to make excellent progress even as we raise expectations," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "Clearly, our teachers and students are working harder than ever and we're seeing the results." 

Superintendent Cox released the initial 2009 AYP Report this morning while speaking at the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) conference in Jekyll Island. The final AYP report will be released in the fall and will include summer retest scores and summer graduates. 

Compared to initial AYP results last year, the 2009 report shows that:
   - The percentage of schools making AYP jumped more than 10 points from 68.8% to 79.1%.
   - The percentage of elementary schools making AYP jumped 13.4 points and the percentage
      of middle schools jumped 10.4 points.
   - The percentage of Title 1 schools making AYP increased by more than 13 points, from 64.8%
      to 78.4% (Title 1 schools have a significant population of economically-disadvantaged 

Superintendent Cox said the improvements that elementary and middle school students showed in mathematics are a big part of the AYP results. Pass rates on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in mathematics improved in all grades across the state.
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"Mathematics achievement was a key to our improvement in AYP results this year," said Superintendent Cox. "We are asking our students to learn more rigorous mathematics and they are showing us that they can do it!" 

The percentage of high schools making AYP continues to lag behind. In 2009, just over 47 percent of the state's high schools made AYP, a slight decrease from 2008's initial results. 

"We know there is a lot of hard work going on in our high schools," Superintendent Cox said. "We need to continue to study the data and work together to make sure our high schools are not only meeting AYP goals but are preparing students for the 21st century." 

AYP is the formula used to determine if schools are meeting expectations under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It consists of three parts -- test participation, academic achievement and another statistic, called a "second indicator." The academic goals continue to rise every few years toward a goal of 100 percent proficiency for all students by 2014. This year, all of the academic goals remained the same as 2008, although the graduation rate bar went up. 

All students at a school, as well as any qualifying subgroup of students, must meet goals in all three categories in order to "make AYP."

Schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject are placed in "Needs Improvement" status and face escalating consequences.

For more information on AYP, go to

Local districts where all schools made AYP 

Harris County 
Marion County
Pike County
Schley County

Local schools that made AYP for 10 consecutive years
Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy, Muscogee County
Sumter County Primary School, Sumter County
Unity Elementary School, Troup County 

58 Schools No Longer in "Needs Improvement" 

Initial results show that 58 schools came out of "Needs Improvement" -- or NI -- status by making AYP for the second consecutive year. Twelve of those schools had been in NI status for five or more years and were facing the highest level of sanctions.

"Getting out of NI status isn't easy," Superintendent Cox said. "These 58 schools should be very proud of their accomplishments, but need to remain focused in order to keep improving." 

There are 334 schools in NI status for the coming school year. These schools must offer parents options, such as public school choice or federally-funded tutoring. Depending on how long these schools have been in NI, some may have to make structural or organizational changes to improve student achievement.

In 2008, there were 340 NI schools after the initial results. That number dropped to 308 after retests, summer graduates and appeals were worked into the formula. 

"I believe we will see the number of NI schools drop again when we do our final AYP determinations in the fall," Superintendent Cox said.

Local schools that came out of the 'Needs Improvement' status

Richards Middle School, Muscogee County
Fort Middle School, Muscogee County 

Graduation Rate 

The state's initial 2009 graduation rate is 77.8%. That is up from the initial 2008 graduation rate of 74.4 % and the final 2008 graduation rate of 75.4%, which included summer graduates. 

"Improving the graduation rate continues to be a top priority in the state of Georgia," Superintendent Cox said. "I am proud of the progress we are making, but there is certainly a lot of work left to be done." 

Graduation Rate must be used as a "second indicator" for all high schools and the bar was raised this year.   

In order to make AYP a high school had to have a graduation rate of 75% or higher, up from 70% last year. If a school did not make that goal, they could use a "second look" which means:

   - Having a graduation rate that averaged 75% or higher over the past three years OR
   - Having a graduation rate of at least 55% the previous year (2008) and showing a 10%
      improvement in the rate this year.

More links:
AYP Website (spreadsheets with school-level and system-level information)