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    Kathryn Forsyth
    Rich Vespucci
    Beth Auerswald
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For Immediate Release:: December 19, 2008


DOE Announces 2008 AYP Results

Editor’s Note:  Commissioner Davy will hold a call-in news conference on the 2008 AYP report for reporters only at 11:00 a.m. 
Please call the DOE Office of Public Information at 609-292-1126 for the call-in number and passcode.

Almost 71 percent of the 2210 New Jersey schools in which tests were administered this spring met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), state Department of Education officials announced today.

The department also released the statewide list of schools making AYP, the list of Schools In Need of Improvement and their yearly status and detailed historical data on all schools.

“There has been a considerable increase in the number of schools meeting AYP standards since the 2005-06 school year, when only 62 percent of our schools made it,” Commissioner Davy said.  “While the number of schools achieving AYP this year is slightly lower than last year, when 73.6 percent of schools met the standards, much of this is attributable to the increase in proficiency targets this year.

“It is also important to remember that AYP is only one measure of a school’s progress.  DOE staff have been working with teachers and administrators to improve the learning environments in schools that have struggled in the past.  Teachers and students are working harder than ever and in many schools, we are seeing real gains in student achievement,” the Commissioner said.  “They may not be hitting all 40 indicators yet, but they are moving forward and we think it is very important that progress like that is acknowledged.”

The Commissioner noted that the number of schools on the Schools In Need of Improvement (SINI) list – schools that have missed AYP for two or more years in a row – dropped from 505 in 2007-08 to 442 this year, a decline of more than 12 percent.  In addition, she said, 415 schools made AYP through the Safe Harbor calculation, which meant that they reduced the number of students who did not achieve proficiency by 10 percent or more.

“We have high expectations here in New Jersey and we are very proud that our students are measuring up to those expectations.  Our state’s results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests – the only test that accurately compares state-by-state performance levels – confirm these improvements ,” the Commissioner said.

How Schools Achieve AYP

AYP calculations are based on schools’ scores in the HSPA (High School Proficiency Assessment) and the NJASK3, NJASK4, NJASK5, NJASK6, NJASK7 and NKASK8 (New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge, Grades Three through Eight). (Note:  NJASK8 replaced the GEPA [Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment] this year.)  The tests are administered in the spring.

DOE officials combine the data for the third, fourth and fifth grade tests and sixth, seventh and eighth grade tests when the grades were housed in the same school, creating three grade spans:

  1. Elementary – Grades three, four and five
  2. Middle – Grades six, seven and eight
  3. High School – Grade 11

Here are the percentages of students required to meet the proficiency targets in 2008 assessments: 


           Subject

 Elementary
(Grades 3-5)

Middle School
  (Grades 6-8)

High School
 (Grade 11)

Language Arts Literacy

73%

72%

85%

Math

69%

61%

74%

In order to achieve AYP, a school’s students must meet both the proficiency targets and a 95 percent participation rate in the math and language arts assessments for each grade span at the school and for each of 10 subgroups: total population, students with disabilities, limited English proficient (LEP) students, economically disadvantaged students and white, Hispanic, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Native American students.

In New Jersey, for participation calculations, if a subgroup in a grade span at a school contains fewer than 40 students, that subgroup’s performance is not included in the AYP calculation.  For proficiency calculations, the minimum subgroup count for all student subgroups is 30.

The students in each subgroup in a grade span with more than the minimum number must meet the proficiency and participation benchmarks in both content areas.  If a school misses any one of the 40 indicators (participation and proficiency in both LAL and math, times 10 subgroups) in any grade span tested at the school, it has not made AYP.

Two other factors are considered in the calculations:  A confidence interval (similar to what may be termed a “margin of error”) that is used in calculating schools’ AYP results and the Safe Harbor provision.

“Early Warning” Status

If a school misses AYP in any one of the 40 indicators for any grade span after having achieved AYP in prior years, it is placed on DOE’s Early Warning list.  “Early Warning” schools face no NCLB sanctions. This is a category developed by New Jersey as a way to alert school officials that if they do not make AYP in the following year, they will be placed on the NCLB SINI list.

This year, 433 schools are on the Early Warning list.  A number of these schools have “Early Warning Hold” status, which means that while they made AYP this year, they did not make it in the 2006-07 school year.  Schools must make AYP two years in a row in order to be removed from either the Early Warning or SINI list.  In 2007-08, 331 schools had Early Warning designations.

Sanctions for Schools that Do Not Make AYP Two or More Years in a Row

SINI schools that receive federal Title I funds and that do not make AYP two years in a row in the same content area face sanctions that increase in severity each year that AYP is not achieved.

The sanctions include parental notification, intra-district school choice, the use of 20 percent of the school’s federal Title I money to provide tutoring to struggling students, school improvement plans and technical assistance from the district and the state.

Schools must make AYP two years in a row in order to be removed from the SINI list.

Year 2 Status

One hundred and twenty-five schools were notified that they had not achieved AYP two years in a row in the same content area and were placed in the Year 2 School Choice status.

Any of these schools that receive Title I funding must offer parents intra-district school choice at another school that did achieve AYP within the district.  If choice is not available in the district – either because there is only one school at that grade level in the district or because the other schools at the grade level are either already at capacity or did not make AYP – the school must offer supplemental educational services, such as tutoring, and develop and implement a school improvement plan.

Last year, 151 schools were in Year 2 status.

Year 3 Status

One hundred and four schools are now in the third level of AYP sanctions, Year 3 Supplemental Educational Services.  If these schools receive Title I funding, they are required to offer parents intra-district choice, if feasible, and supplemental educational services, such as tutoring, using 20 percent of the Title I money they receive.  They must also complete a school improvement plan.

Last year, 125 schools were in Year 3 status.

Year 4 Status

Seventy-two schools received notice that they are now placed in Year 4 Corrective Action status.  Any of those schools that receive federal Title I funding must allot 20 percent of their Title I funds for parental options, such as intra-district school choice, if feasible, and supplemental educational services, such as tutoring; complete or update a school improvement plan and undergo a comprehensive review; and take other corrective actions.

Last year, 87 schools were in Year 4 status.

Year 5 Status

Thirty-five schools are in Year 5 Restructuring status.  Schools which have not made AYP for five consecutive years now face more severe federal sanctions.  Administrators must begin planning for school restructuring and for the implementation of the restructuring plan in the 2009-10 school year should the school miss the AYP proficiency targets next year.

Under NCLB rules, restructuring requires the imposition of an alternative governance arrangement for the school.  In New Jersey, this usually involves major operational or governance changes within the school or the replacement of all or most of the school’s staff deemed relevant to the school’s inability to make progress.

Last year, 93 schools were in Year 5 status.

Year 6 Sanctions

Seventy-two schools are now in Year 6 Restructuring status.  All of these schools must continue to implement the DOE-approved restructuring plans that they submitted during Year 5.

Year 7 and Year 8 Sanctions

Twenty-one New Jersey schools have missed AYP for eight consecutive years.  An additional 13 schools are in Year 7 status, but 10 of them are in Year 7 hold status, which means that they did make AYP this year.

NCLB has no provision for Year 7 or Year 8 sanctions, but that doesn’t mean that the work that DOE is doing with these schools will end,” Commissioner Davy said.  “We have worked with them to develop individualized action plans focused on the major obstacles to achievement in each school and we are providing are providing a wide variety of differentiated supports depending on the specific needs of the school and the district.” The various charts, fact sheets and background memos for New Jersey’s 2008-09 AYP report can be found here:  http://www.nj.gov/education/title1/accountability/ayp/0809/