AYP policies, guided by the federal “No Child Left Behind Act,” are based on three factors - how many students participate in assessment testing, assessment testing scores and a third indicator which can vary from school to school.
This marks the first year that non-Title 1 schools, like the high school and middle school, have been required to meet AYP standards.
Non-Tile 1 schools do not receive funding like their Title 1 counterparts.
Funding that is received under the Title 1 category is given only to schools with a high poverty level - or those schools with a high percentage of reduced or free lunches.
Schools not meeting AYP for the first time do not suffer any consequences. However being placed on the list more than once can result in several outcomes.
Cedartown High School principal John Toland received the news of falling short of the state’s standards, and has already made plans to keep them off the “Needs Improvement” list next year.
“The primary reason we did not meet the standards is because of our attendance rate, which affected our testing participation. Getting our attendance up is something that the faculty and I have established as a goal. Last year, our attendance rate was about 92-93 percent and that is excessive. On an average, that means that about every student was out for 12 days,” said Toland.
Attendance is just one of the indicators that the state looks at when determining which schools should improve. Toland states that the indicators are all linked together, and that one outcome affects another.
“All of the indicators are tied-in together. If all of our youngsters came to school, we would have much better test participation and scores,” commented Toland.
According to Polk School District’s Darrell Sorrells, Title 1 director, Cedartown High School had a test participation rate of 94 percent.
The state mandates that a school must have 95 percent participation in order to pass AYP standards.
Statewide, 42 percent of non-Title I schools did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress.
For successive failures to meet guidelines, schools face tough consequences.
If a school fails AYP standards for two years in a row, that school must allow children to transfer to another passing school if they choose and make specific goals in order to improve their schools.
Consequences become harsher the more times a school fails AYP standards, ultimately leading to the school making the transition into a charter school and having the state take over operations.