Archive for Thursday, September 23, 2010

Despite improvements, school district misses AYP for 2009-10

September 23, 2010

Even as students districtwide stayed well ahead of benchmarks on reading and math assessments, the Basehor-Linwood School District failed to meet the standard of adequate yearly progress for the 2009-10 school year laid out by the federal No Child Left Behind act.

At Basehor-Linwood Middle School and Basehor Elementary School, special-education students did not meet standards at a high enough percentage to make AYP, which caused both schools and the district to miss AYP as a whole. The state announced AYP results last week.

“I don’t think you can look and say, ‘Oh, the district didn’t make AYP,’ and leave it at that,” Superintendent David Howard said.

Across the district, 94.3 percent of students met proficiency standards in reading, and 89.5 percent met standards in math, each number surpassing AYP requirements by more than 10 percentage points. The scores also increased from 2008-09, when 92.7 percent of students met reading standards and 88.7 percent met math standards.

But No Child Left Behind dictates that specific groups of students — such as students who have special needs, who receive free or reduced-price lunch or who speak English as a second language — must meet AYP standards for proficiency on their own, in addition to the general student population.

It was this provision of the law that caused the Basehor-Linwood district to fall short this year. A district must have at least 30 students in a subgroup for that group to count separately in the judgment of AYP, and the district had two such groups in the last school year: special education and free or reduced-price lunch. The special-education group did not meet the AYP requirements for math.

“We’re disappointed, but at the same time, our scores increased,” Howard said.

Statewide, 211 of 293 school districts met AYP, and 1,125 of 1,380 public schools met AYP. The number of districts that missed AYP more than doubled from 2008-09, jumping from 34 to 82 as No Child Left Behind targets continued to move toward the goal that 100 percent of students would meet standards by 2014.

AYP requirements will only get tougher for schools to meet, and the 100 percent standard in 2014 will simply not be possible for many schools to attain, Howard said.

“You’re really going to see more and more schools miss it in the next few years,” Howard said.

Other area districts to miss AYP for 2009-10 included Tonganoxie, Leavenworth, Lansing and Turner.

The principals at both Basehor-Linwood schools that missed AYP said individual student attention would be the key to their efforts to meet AYP for this school year.

“We know that we have our work cut out for us, but our teachers are up for the challenge,” said Mike Wiley, Basehor-Linwood Middle School principal.

Wiley said teachers would use more pre-tests to determine students’ understanding of material, and students could take extra classes in subject areas where they need help.

At Basehor Elementary School (including the Intermediate School building containing grades 3-5), principal Teri Boyd said the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative would provide an additional special education teacher. The school will also sort students into ability-based groups for math instruction, as it already does for reading, Boyd said.

“I was actually very surprised, because we were already doing so many things for the students to be successful,” Boyd said.

The elementary school may also be at less risk of missing AYP this year because of the intricacies of No Child Left Behind’s subgroup rules. Because sixth-graders now attend the middle school, the elementary may no longer have the 30 students in any given subgroup required for it to count separately toward AYP.

Such are the numbers games that can come into play when it comes to No Child Left Behind standards, Howard said.

“The system’s somewhat flawed when you can make overall improvement but not make AYP,” he said.

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