MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The State of Alabama is releasing figures from its Annual Yearly Progress, or AYP, results.

  • Over 72 percent of Alabama public schools met 100 percent of their required NCLB goals – or made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
  • Over 87 percent of Alabama public schools met over 90 percent of their required NCLB goals.
  • Out of 1,383 Alabama public schools, 1,006 schools made AYP – or met 100 percent of their goals – despite increasingly difficult NCLB requirements.

Alabama's AYP graduation rate improved from 87 percent in 2009 to 88 percent for the Class of 2010. Alabama's graduation rate goal is 90 percent or meets the improvement target.

and officials with the state Department of Education appear pleased with the results.

"We want to pause today and recognize the efforts of our students, their teachers and school leaders in acknowledging and meeting the ever increasing annual measureable objectives set for them under the No Child Left Behind accountability system," said Dr. Tommy Bice, Deputy State Superintendent of Education.

Fortunately, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's dire prediction that 80 percent of schools in the United States would be in School Improvement under the federal No Child Left Behind Actof 2001 (NCLB) did not come true for Alabama, as evidenced in the 2010-2011 Accountability Reports released Monday.

At the same time, we want to acknowledge the fact that one test score does not represent the education of the whole child and, as this data release is interpreted, it should be done within that context," said Dr. Tommy Bice, Deputy State Superintendent of Education, Instructional Services.

Alabama public schools exceeded the AYP attendance rate goal at 96 percent. Alabama's AYP attendance rate goal is 95 percent or show improvement from the previous year.

Alabama's AYP graduation rate improved from 87 percent in 2009 to 88 percent for the Class of 2010. Alabama's graduation rate goal is 90 percent or meets the improvement target. Although Alabama schools missed the graduation rate goal of 90 percent with 88 percent graduating for the class of 2010, they still made sufficient improvement from the previous year, which allowed Alabama to meet the improvement target.

For 2011, 49 school systems and 377 schools did not make AYP (did not achieve 100 percent of their required individual goals).

NCLB Annual Measurable Objectives

Under NCLB requirements, the percentage of students required to meet the proficient standard increases annually. Beginning in 2010, annual measureable objectives increase in every grade for both reading and mathematics and will continue to increase every year. The national requirement specified by NCLB is for 100 percent of the students in America to be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.

NCLB was scheduled to be Reauthorized in 2009 by Congress. To date, Congress has not Reauthorized NCLB so all states, including Alabama, operate under the existing law. Currently, NCLB does not allow for signs of growth within schools and school systems unless 100 percent of all goals are met. Going from making 40 percent of goals to making 90 percent of goals results in no change of status for schools or school systems under NCLB. There are only two grades given under NCLB – Passing and Failing.

The Alabama State Board of Education approved the creation of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force to review needed changes in assessments and an accountability plan to assure Alabama is in compliance with all laws and regulations regarding education and meets the needs of Alabama's students, educators and citizens. An anticipated report will be delivered to the State Superintendent of Education and Alabama State Board of Education no later than May 10, 2012.

Determining AYP status

The AYP status of Alabama schools and school systems is based on student achievement and participation rates on assessments for reading and mathematics, plus attendance rates for elementary and middle schools and graduation rates for high schools.

Schools Required to Achieve 100 Percent of AYP Goals

Under NCLB, schools 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 from making AYP. NCLB requires schools 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.

Although there are 37 possible student configurations, Alabama had as few as five and as many as 29 in 2010-11. For a school that has all 29 student configurations, the school is required to have each of the 29 make AYP. If only one student configuration does not meet the AYP requirement then the school does not make AYP.

School Improvement

It takes two years of not making AYP to be designated a School Improvement school. Likewise, it takes two years of making AYP for a school to progress out of School Improvement status.

This year, 227 schools and 28 school systems are identified for 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.

School Choice

Alabama evaluated 1,383 public schools for 2011-12 AYP status (based on 2010-11 data); 932 are Title I schools (high-poverty schools that receive Title I federal funding, the largest single federal funding source for education). This year, 140 Title I schools were identified for School Improvement and 87 schools identified for School Improvement are non-Title I schools.

NCLB, Section 1116, requires Title I schools identified for School Improvement in Year 1 and beyond to offer school choice to all students (if choice options are available). In 2010, Title I schools identified for School Improvement Year 1 could take advantage of an approved waiver request from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). Through this regulatory waiver, select districts had the flexibility to offer students in Title I schools identified for improvement the options of school choice, supplemental educational services (SES), or both – whichever met the districts' unique circumstances. The Alabama Department of Education's request to continue this waiver has been granted again by the USDE for the 2011-2012 school year. Title I schools identified for School Improvement in Year 2 and beyond are required to offer school choice options (if available) to all students and provide 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. Parents may contact their local school system's central office for assistance.