41 percent of Arkansas schools “achieving”
According to a press release from the Arkansas Department of Education, 41 percent of the state’s schools made achieving status on the state’s 2009-2010 Adequate Yearly Progress list, which is required by federal law. For schools to be deemed as “achieving,” at least 64 percent of the school’s students had to score “proficient” or “advanced” on last school year’s standardized tests.
Meeting the achieving mark is growing increasingly difficult for schools as federal law steps up the requirements each year. By the 2013-2014 school year, 100 percent of the students within a school must score proficient or advanced for the school to be deemed as achieving.
“Obviously it is becoming more and more difficult to make AYP. However, we know our school districts and schools are working hard to make sure children have the best possible opportunity to achieve proficiency,” said Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas commissioner of education. “They’re not doing it to avoid a label, but because they know the best thing for each child, as well as the state as a whole, is for all students to graduate equipped with the skills and knowledge it takes to succeed in today’s world.”
Each state is allowed to develop its own specific rules and methods for establishing AYP, but the federal government must approve each state’s plans. Arkansas’s plan, dubbed “Smart Accountability,” was approved in 2009. According to the press release, there are multiple categories within the Smart Accountability program:
- Achieving, meaning the school has made adequate yearly progress for two or more years.
- Alert, meaning the school did not meet adequate yearly progress this year after meeting it the previous year and therefore is not in a phase of school improvement
- Targeted School Improvement, meaning a school has been identified as being in school improvement status because one or more, but fewer than 25 percent, of its student subgroups failed to meet AYP for two or more consecutive years
- Targeted Intensive Improvement, meaning that a school has remained in Targeted School Improvement status for four or more years.
- Whole School Improvement, meaning that a school has been identified as being in school improvement status because the full test-taking population and/or more than 25 percent of its student subgroups failed to meet adequate yearly progress for two or more consecutive years.
- Whole School Intensive Improvement, meaning a school has remained in Whole School Improvement status for four or more years.
- State Directed, meaning that a school has remained in school improvement status for five or more years. At this level, the state requires schools and districts to implement more interventions and to work with a school improvement team or director that is appointed by or approved by the state.
You can look at your individual school districts on the Arkansas Department of Education website (look at the list under 2009-2010), but here’s a summary for 2010:
446 schools are classified as Achieving
209 schools are classified as Alert
99 schools are classified as “Targeted Improvement Schools”
158 schools are classified as “Whole School Improvement Schools”
20 schools are classified as “Targeted Intensive Improvement Schools”
65 schools are classified as “Whole School Intensive Improvement Schools”
78 schools are classified as “State Directed” schools
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