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86% of AL schools make AYP

Press Release

State experiences a 29 percent decrease in high poverty schools needing improvement

MONTGOMERY, AL - Reports released Monday by the Alabama Department of Education show that in its sixth year of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) implementation, most Alabama schools continue to increase student performance and move towards reaching the ultimate goal of 100 percent student proficiency as identified by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.

This year,1,190 of Alabama's 1,376 schools made AYP. In all, 86.48 percent of schools across Alabama met 100 percent of their goals to achieve AYP. That is 3 percent higher than 2008 AYP results while annual measurable objectives rose. Equally important, the state experienced a 29 percent reduction in the number of high poverty Title I schools identified as needing "school improvement" over last year.

Overall findings are encouraging because the percentage of students required to meet the proficiency rate was raised even higher in 2009. These rates are known as annual measurable objectives and Alabama's percentages within its proficiency goals will continue to be raised each year. The national target determined by the NCLB law is for all students to be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.

Governor Bob Riley, who serves as the state school Board president, commented "Alabama's public schools have made tremendous progress during the past few years. Just five years ago, only 23 percent of schools met all their yearly progress goals. The bar was raised again this year and 86 percent of schools met all their goals. Plus, we're seeing a decrease in the number of schools that need ‘school improvement.' Proven programs like the Alabama Reading Initiative, Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, and ACCESS distance learning, are making a difference in teaching and learning across this great state."

Of the 186 Alabama schools that did not achieve 100 percent of their individual goals, 106 made 90-99.99 percent, 42 made 80-89.99 percent, 17 made 70-79.99 percent, 13 made 60-69.99 percent, and only eight schools statewide achieved less than 60 percent.

State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton pointed out that approximately 64 percent (or 119 schools) of the schools that did not make AYP this year missed it by only one goal.

"State Boards of Education and influential education groups, such as the Council of Chief State School Officers, have offered suggestions to the U.S. Department of Education for improvement to the No Child Left Behind law," said Morton. "As the U.S. Congress considers reauthorizing the law, one change we hope is made will be to consider different consequences for schools based on the degree to which they miss AYP. That way, if a school misses AYP in just one area it is not treated the same as a school that misses it across the board. Additionally, we hope to see students tracked by growth over time instead of just year to year classes."

Morton noted that over 97 percent of Alabama's schools would score an "A" or "B" under a traditional grading scale of 90-100 equals an A and 80-89 equals a B.

Determining AYP status

AYP designations for Alabama schools and school systems include student achievement and participation rates for reading and mathematics on the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test (ARMT) - Grades 3-8, the Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE) - Grade 11, and the Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA) - Grades 3-8 and 11.

The AYP status of schools and school systems is based on achievement on assessments of the state's academic content standards, participation rates on these assessments, and meeting the Additional Academic Indicators (AAI) based on attendance rates for elementary and middle schools and graduation rates for high schools.

Schools and systems are required to achieve 100% of their AYP goals

Each school and system is measured based on the performance of a variety of groups in their respective student populations. The NCLB law requires schools and systems to meet annual goals in the academic achievement of the overall student population and by student groups, including economic background, race/ethnicity, limited English proficiency, and special education. Depending on the student composition, a school will have a minimum of five goals up to as many as thirty-seven goals.


Under the NCLB law, schools and systems must meet 100 percent of their respective annual goals in all student groups to be identified as having achieved AYP. As a result, missing just one goal will prevent a school or system from making AYP.

School Improvement

If a school does not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same component (reading, mathematics, or AAI), the school enters School Improvement status. Those schools missing AYP for at least two consecutive years will receive specific training and technical assistance through the state Support Team, which will help schools analyze their assessment data and develop a Continuous Improvement Plan. In 2009, more schools (992 in 2008 vs. 1028 in 2009) made two years of consecutive AYP improvement.

School Choice

Alabama evaluated 1,376 public schools for 2009-10 AYP status (based on 2008-09 data) - 866 are Title I schools (schools that receive Title I federal funding, the largest single federal funding source for education). This year, 52 of those Title I schools were identified for School Improvement compared to last year's 73 schools. That's a 29 percent decrease over last year. Of the 122 total schools identified for School Improvement statewide in 2009, 70 are non-Title I schools.

Also, there's an 11 percent decrease in the overall number of schools identified for School Improvement when compared to last year (137 in 2008 vs. 122 in 2009). Perhaps more favorable is that the total number of schools identified as needing improvement continues to drop (458 in 2006 vs. 122 in 2009).

NCLB requires Title I schools identified for School Improvement in Year 1 and beyond to offer school choice to all students. In 2008, schools identified for School Improvement Year 1 could take advantage of an approved waiver request from the U.S. Department of Education. Through this waiver, select districts had the flexibility to offer students School Choice, supplemental educational services, or both - which ever met the districts unique circumstances. Title I schools identified for School Improvement in Year 2 and beyond are required to continue the school choice option to all students and provide supplemental educational services (SES) to students eligible for free/reduced meals. Non-Title I schools could offer the same provisions, but are not required to because of cost factors. In 2009, the Alabama Department of Education requested a continuation of the waiver. Parents may contact their local school system's central office for assistance.

Accountability results, assessment results, and a listing of all schools, including their respective AYP and School Improvement status can be found on the Alabama Department of Education's Web site at www.alsde.edu under "Accountability Reporting."

Source: Alabama Department of Education

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