Higher Expectations Cause More Schools to Not Make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2011

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Communications (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

August 15, 2011
LANSING – Even though state test scores have been on the rise, higher proficiency targets required to meet the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act resulted in fewer schools making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year, according to the Michigan Department of Education.
And, despite more schools not making AYP, every school building in Michigan still received state accreditation.

“We must continue to set high expectations for our schools so our students are prepared for the competitive global economy,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. “But we need an accurate and honest reflection of where our schools are in preparing our students.”

Flanagan said he expects the percent of schools making AYP to continue to fall next year as Michigan is raising its assessment cut scores, which determine student proficiency.

“A couple of decades ago, achieving a very basic level of proficiency was sufficient to earn a living wage,” he said. “Today, students need to graduate from high school career- and college-ready.”

The raising of the assessment cut scores will more accurately reflect this new reality. 

“While scores may initially decline, educators support this change because preparing students for long-term success is the right thing to do,” Flanagan said. “I have faith that our outstanding educators across this state will rise to this challenge – and continue to do so with honest effort and integrity.”

Under federal NCLB, all states are required to establish annual English language arts and mathematic proficiency targets. Those targets must reach 100 percent by the 2013-14 school year. During the past school year, the percent of students needing to be proficient on state assessments was raised by an average of 10 percent, in order to be on trajectory to the NCLB target of 100 percent proficiency by the 2013-14 school year.

Still, 79 percent of Michigan’s public school buildings and 93 percent of the school districts made AYP for the 2010-11 school year. This is down from 86 percent of schools and 95 percent of districts making AYP the previous school year.

Targets increase by a similar amount every year beginning in the 2010-11 school year. Michigan recently has requested a federal waiver from the 100 percent requirement while transitioning from basic to career- and college-ready cut scores.

High levels of student proficiency in elementary grades on the state reading and math assessments offset overall target increases, resulting in the relatively modest decline in the percentage of schools making AYP. Schools that were a combined middle/high school actually saw a slight increase in the percentage of schools making AYP.

The number of high schools meeting AYP declined from 81.9 percent in 2009-10 to 60 percent this year. A similar decrease occurred in past years with significant target increases. Percentages of alternative schools and special education center schools making AYP also declined.

2011 Report Card Highlights:

  • Forty-nine buildings came off the NCLB consequences list by having made AYP for the second consecutive year.
  • The number of schools Identified for Improvement (Phases 1 and above) went from 453 schools in 2009-10 to 386 in 2010-11.
  • The percent of schools receiving A's on their report cards increased nearly two percent. Over the past four years the number of schools receiving A's increased from 1,526 (45% in 2008-09) to 1,765 (51.4% in 2010-11).

To make AYP, a school must test 95 percent of its students in total and in each required student demographic group defined by the federal law. The school also must attain the target achievement goal in English language arts and mathematics, or reduce the percentage of students in the non-proficient category of achievement by 10 percent ("safe harbor"). In addition, the school must meet or exceed the other academic indicators set by the state: graduation rate for high schools and attendance rate for elementary and middle schools. These achievement goals must be reached for each demographic group that has at least 30 students in the group.

When describing schools' AYP status, there are three "stages" outlined in the Federal Title I, Part A law. These stages designate schools as "Identified for School Improvement," "Identified for Corrective Action," and "Identified for Restructuring." Identified schools are categorized into one of these groups depending upon the number of years the school has not made AYP.

Schools that do not make AYP for two or more consecutive years are placed on the federally-required consequences list. The consequences get progressively more severe with each additional year a school does not make AYP, ranging from having to provide school choice and transportation to another school, to tutorial services for the students, to eventual school restructuring. For a complete listing of AYP consequences and supports, visit: www.michigan.gov/ayp.

The EducationYES! School Report Cards are a compilation of student scores on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) and Michigan Merit Exam (MME) tests; the MI-Access alternate assessments for students with disabilities; AYP designation; and in various, self-reported, school performance indicators - such as family involvement in the schools, curriculum, student attendance, and professional development for its teachers.

For school and district AYP data included in both the Michigan School Report Card and Annual Education Report visit the new education information website called MI School Data at www.mischooldata.org. The launch of this site corresponds to this year’s AYP release. 

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