455 N. Woods Mill Road
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone (314) 415-8100
Adequate Yearly Progress
AUGUST 2, 2011
State education officials will soon release information about which Missouri schools made adequate yearly progress (AYP) last year, based largely on state tests called the MAP. The AYP results are part of a federal law called No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This year’s AYP list is based on spring 2011 test scores from Missouri’s MAP tests in math and communication arts, as well as attendance and/or graduation rates.
You may read in news reports that some Parkway schools did not make AYP. This does not mean these schools are unsuccessful – in fact they may have very strong overall test scores. This will likely cause some parents and other residents to be confused.
The purpose of this document is to help you understand AYP, and ask you to share the information with others.
Under NCLB, all of America’s public schools are being held explicitly accountable for the performance of all groups of students, not just for the average performance of their student population.
For example, schools must now demonstrate that certain achievement levels are being met each year for Hispanic students, African American students, students with individualized education programs, students receiving free/reduced lunches, students with limited English proficiency and other subgroups. If the test scores of a single subgroup do not meet the required achievement level established by the state and federal government, that school will fail to make AYP. Therefore, a school with a more diverse population will have many student subgroups taking the tests, and thus will have a greater chance of not making AYP than schools with less student subgroups.
It is also important to note that Missouri’s testing standards are among the most rigorous in the country, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education.
PUTTING AYP INTO PERSPECTIVE
Many schools labeled by the state as “needing improvement” may actually be performing at a high level or making continuous improvement, but not achieving AYP with one or two subgroups of students. To get a complete picture of how a school is doing, one must consider a wide range of indicators, not just a snapshot of MAP subgroup scores. Some examples include scores on Stanford, ACT, SAT, and PLAN tests, as well as attendance rates, dropout rates, graduation rates and so on.
Many of these indicators are factored into each school district’s Annual Performance Review (APR), which offers a more comprehensive analysis of how our schools are doing. The Parkway School District, for example, is one of only 32 districts out of 523 in Missouri to have earned the state’s Distinction in Performance for High Achievement Award all ten times it has been awarded.
WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THE AYP PROGRAM?
Essentially, it’s a federal government program that is one of many tools helping us understand how well our schools are doing, and assisting our overall school improvement efforts. It acknowledges that all students should succeed in school, not just certain groups.
WHAT IS “SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT?”
Any school that is receiving certain federal funding and fails to achieve AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject area is identified under the law as “in need of improvement” and is subject to certain penalties.
Initially, a school labeled as needing improvement must offer its students the opportunity to transfer to another school within the district. After a third year, schools must offer supplemental services (such as tutoring) for students. Schools that do not show significant improvement in the test scores of all subgroups after four years may be forced to take corrective action such as replacing school personnel or extending the school year.
Ultimately, by 2014, the law requires that all students in all subgroups (100 percent) score at the defined “proficiency” level in order to achieve AYP. As AYP targets are progressively higher each year, it is becoming more difficult and challenging for school districts across the country to make AYP for all students. For example, in three of the past four years, none of 22 St. Louis County school districts achieved AYP.
CAN ALL STUDENTS BE SUCCESSFUL?
Yes. We want every student to be successful in school. We realize that while the vast majority of Parkway students are successful and performing at high levels, there are some students whose test scores aren’t improving as much as we would like. We are aware of this and continue to work with our community to ensure all students are successful on high-stakes state testing. We have made progress, but still have work to do in reaching every student successfully. That is our goal.
PARKWAY POINTS OF PRIDE
For more than 50 years, the Parkway School District has helped set the standard for academic excellence in Missouri. We will continue to make progress toward meeting the needs of all children, but recognize that most children in Parkway are achieving at levels above state averages and we should be proud of our school district and its accomplishments. For example:
- In 2010, Parkway students’ average score on the ACT college entrance exam (24.1) was fourth-highest among 524 Missouri districts, and for the past seven years on the ACT, Parkway has been in the top five of Missouri districts in percentage of graduates scoring at or above the national average on the ACT.
- More than 90 percent of Parkway graduates went on to attend two-or four-year colleges and universities or other institutions of higher learning in 2010. Parkway consistently ranks among the top five in the state on this measure.
- Parkway consistently has an exceptionally high number of National Merit Scholars. In 2010-11, 46 Parkway students achieved National Merit Semifinalist or Commended status which is substantially above the national average, based on enrollment.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Visit Understanding Your AYP Report at the state education department’s website, read NCLB information for parents by the U.S. Department of Education or contact the Parkway Communications Department at (314) 415-8077.