More than half of Alaska schools failed to achieve a crucial progress benchmark required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to statistics released by the state Friday -- and the Anchorage School District says it did worse than the statewide rate.
According to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, only 46 percent of the state’s 505 schools made adequate yearly progress in the 2010-2011 school year. It’s a sharp drop from the previous year, when 59.1 percent of schools statewide made AYP.
A statement issued by EED Friday on the declining results chalks them up to rising targets for student proficiency and graduation rates, which increase automatically under No Child Left Behind.
Schools have to meet 31 separate targets, including academic, attendance and graduation goals as well as specific student proficiency rates in math and language arts, to make AYP. The state says 65 schools failed by missing only one target in 2010-2011, while an additional 48 schools missed two targets.
Anchorage schools lagged behind the pack in figures released by the Anchorage School Board after its meeting this week, with 39 percent of its 96 schools making AYP in 2010-2011. The statewide fall is reflected inASD’s numbers from last year, with 48 percent of the district’s 97 schools making AYP in 2009-2010.
School board member Jeff Friedman defendedASD’s performance in an email summarizing the Monday meeting at which the numbers were released, citing the difficulty of continued improvement and AYP’s inability to assess personal factors of student progress.
“Ultimately, this AYP report is one measure,” Friedman wrote. “AYP does help us focus on trying to help every student improve, and that is good. But it shouldn’t be the only measure of whether a district is improving a student’s life.”
No Child Left Behind imposes gradually worsening penalties on schools that fail to make AYP requirements, ranging from consultations after the first year to mandatory restructuring after four consecutive years.