District’s Adequate Yearly Progress declined significantly

23 of 45 schools can’t clear raised progress bar

Federal student achievement targets became more stringent this year for the Adequate Yearly Progress ratings of Colorado’s schools, and in School District 51, like in the rest of the state, Adequate Yearly Progress declined significantly.

Of the 45 District 51 schools that were rated, based on 2007-08 Colorado Student Assessment Program scores, 23 schools failed to make adequate yearly progress. A year earlier, District 51 had only 10 schools fall short of the benchmark for adequate yearly progress.

The rest of the state took a nosedive as well, according to the Colorado Department of Education, with 60 percent of schools hitting the mark for adequate progress, down from 75 percent the previous year.
In addition to the U.S. Department of Education raising the percentages required to meet the 142 criteria it uses to measure progress, it mandated for the first time that the test scores of English-language learners and students with disabilities be included in the proficiency determination.

“Including those students who weren’t included before makes a drop look like a bigger drop than what it is,” said Steve Schultz, District 51’s assistant superintendent. “It’s like changing the rules of the game.”

Schultz said District 51 knew its scores would suffer because of the changes, but he said the same plans in place to generate improvement on the CSAP scores will help remedy the Adequate Yearly Progress ratings.

“We’re on track with those,” he said.

The district is planning several individual learning programs, including after-school interventions for students struggling in reading and math that will be implemented in November, Schultz said.

The Adequate Yearly Progress rating is attached to Title I funding for low-income schools, so schools receiving those funds risk sanctions if they fail to make adequate progress for at least two consecutive years.

Six District 51 elementary schools — Chatfield, Clifton, Dos Rios, Rocky Mountain, Dual Immersion Academy and Nisley — were flagged as Title I schools that failed to make the mark and could be put on an improvement plan by 2009-10 if they fail again this school year.

Adequate Yearly Progress is a requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act with the goal of attaining 100 percent proficiency across the nation in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year. Students who score partially proficient, proficient or advanced on CSAP qualify for Adequate Yearly Progress proficiency, according to the Colorado Department of Education. For a district to make adequate yearly progress, each of the district’s schools, broken down into more than 140 subgroups of students, including race, disability and socioeconomic status, must attain set achievement targets.

The required percentage of students proficient in reading to make adequate yearly progress, for example, jumped by about 6 percent at all levels, and math went up as much as 13 percent at the high school level, depending on the subgroup profiled.


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