Nationwide, there has been a movement towards more accountability of schools and districts in the education of our students. The No Child Left Behind Act has solidified this requirement. Already, the Arizona Legislation and the Department of Education has taken steps to assure that schools and districts are held accountable for the achievement of all students, and the State is making sure that our system is in compliance with the federal law. (www.nclb.gov) Arizona received approval from the Federal Government to implement a dual accountability system:
Points for all these components are totaled and translate to the four labels, “Underperforming”, “Performing”, "Performing Plus", “Highly Performing”, and “Excelling”. Schools who receive the Underperforming label for two consecutive years are also placed in “Improvement” under the direction of The Department of Education.
FEDERAL ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM:
ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS (AYP): AYP is a measure required by NCLB, which assesses whether each subgroup of our population (grouped by ethnicity, gender, low SES, special education, and English learners), as well as the total group, are making adequate progress. Benchmarks have been set for each year leading towards 100% of students passing our state test (AIMS) by 2014. AYP consists of the following measures:
- Percentage of students tested
- Average student attendance
- Percent of students proficient on AIMS (All schools and districts must meet the benchmarks in terms of students who meet or exceed the standard on AIMS, which have been agreed upon by the State and Federal Government.
- Percentage of Graduation and Dropout rates. (High School Only)
All these components must be met for all subjects at the grades assessed in a school to meet AYP. Schools who do not make AYP for two consecutive years will be placed under certain requirements and sanctions, overseen by the Department of Education, in order for improvement to be made.
STATE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM:
- ARIZONA LEARNS (AZLEARNS): AZLEARNS is the state system for identifying the schools that are considered to be, “Excelling”, “Highly Performing”, “Performing”, "Performing Plus", and “Underperforming”. This measurement system incorporates:
- AIMS TEST SCORES: An average of the past three years’ AIMS SCORES are compared to baseline scores. The percentage of students who pass the test and the percentage that “fall far behind” is calculated for the averages to ascertain if there has been growth. Schools are given points for the level of their current year scores and for the amount of growth compared to the state averages for each grade level and subject. Schools must also reach benchmarks in terms of mean percentage of students who received the “Exceeds the Standard” score in order to receive the Highly Performing or Excelling labels.
- TERRA NOVA – MEASURE OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS (MAP): (Elementary and Junior High only) Using the TERRA NOVA test analysis, the MAP results indicate the percentage of students who made one year of growth on their scores in math and reading from one year to the next. Schools are given extra points for this component.
- GRADUATION AND DROP OUT RATE: (High School Only) The percentage of students who graduate and those who drop out are used to provide extra points for High Schools.
- ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS (AYP) – (See details above.) Schools are given a point for making AYP.