DOE A to Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #


For More Information Contact the Public Information Office: 609-292-1126
     Kathryn Forsyth, Director
     Richard J. Vespucci
     Beth Auerswald

For Immediate Release: January 14, 2010

DOE Announces 2009 AYP Results and Releases Statewide Score Summaries

Almost 64 percent of the 2,222 New Jersey schools in which tests were administered in the spring of 2009 met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), state Department of Education officials announced today.

As required under NCLB, the department 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, along with the scoring summaries for each of the seven statewide tests and school-by-school scoring information.

State officials said that the decline in the number of New Jersey schools making AYP – 1,554 in 2008 versus 1,420 in 2009 – was essentially due to two factors: first, an increase in the percent of questions that must be answered correctly to achieve proficiency, and second, increases over the last two years in the percentages of students in every subgroup who are required to achieve proficiency on the tests in order for the school to make AYP.

Assistant Commissioner for Student Services Barbara Gantwerk noted that New Jersey students consistently are among the nation’s scoring leaders on the NAEP (National Assessment for Educational Progress) tests, the only assessments for which state-by-state comparisons can be made.

“At the same time, unlike some other states, we in New Jersey have been raising our academic standards and increasing the rigor of our own tests,” Assistant Commissioner Gantwerk said.  “We think it is extremely important that New Jersey students leave our public schools prepared to meet the challenges of college or the workplace in the 21st century economy.  We have very high expectations here.

“It is also important to remember that a school may miss only one indicator and not make AYP.  Schools vary in the number of indicators they may have missed, and it is important to look at the entire picture of a school.  Some may have very specific areas in which there are problems and others may have more pervasive problems,” the Assistant Commissioner said.

Finally, Assistant Commissioner Gantwerk noted that DOE has implemented several programs to work with with teachers and administrators to improve the learning environments in schools that have struggled in the past.

“Next year, New Jersey will have the data base available to allow us to calculate an individual student growth rate, which will give us greater information on the performance of individual students and schools,” the Assistant Commissioner said.

The number of schools that made AYP dropped from 1,554 (70.2 percent of the schools in which a test was administered) in 2008-09 to 1,420 (63.9 percent) in 2009-2010.  Four hundred twenty-four of the schools achieving AYP did so through the “safe harbor” calculation, which meant that they reduced the number of students who did not achieve proficiency by 10 percent or more.

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 – increased from 440 in 2008-09 to 460 in 2009-10.

Sixty-nine schools came off the SINI list.

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 NJASK8 (New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge, Grades Three through Eight), along with the results of the Alternative Proficiency Assessment (APA), administered to students with severe disabilities at each grade level.   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:

  • Elementary – Grades three, four and five
  • Middle – Grades six, seven and eight
  • High School – Grade 11

Here are the AYP proficiency targets for the assessments:

Content Area

Grade Span

2008-2010 2011-2013 2014

Language Arts Literacy



Elementary (Grades 3-5)

59 79 100

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

72 86 100

High School (Grade 11)

85 92 100




Elementary (Grades 3-5)

66 83 100

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

61 80 100

High School (Grade 11)

74 86 100

(Note:  Because New Jersey initiated new, more rigorous grade 5-8 tests in 2008 and new, more rigorous grade 3-4 tests in 2009, the proficiency targets listed above are slightly different from those originally projected by the state in 2002, when NCLB was initiated.  New Jersey received approval from the USDE to modify the targets as part of the process required to make appropriate year-to-year comparisons between the different tests.)

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, American Indian/Native American students and students with multiple races (other).

In New Jersey, there must be at least 40 students in a subgroup for schools to be held accountable for the participation indicators and 30 students in a subgroup for schools to be held accountable for the proficiency indicators.

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 41 indicators (participation and proficiency in both LAL and math, times 10 subgroups, plus one additional indicator) 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 performance or participation 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, 564 schools are on the Early Warning list.  A number of these schools have “Early Warning Hold” status, which means that while they made AYP in 2008-09, they did not make it in the 2007-08 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 2008-09, 433 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 sixty-six 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, 125 schools were in Year 2 status.

Year 3 Status

Ninety 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, 106 schools were in Year 3 status.

Year 4 Status

Forty-three 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, 69 schools were in Year 4 status.

Year 5 Status

Fifty-six 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 2010-11 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, 35 schools were in Year 5 status.

Year 6 Sanctions

Eighteen 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.  Seventy-two schools were in Year 6 status last year.

Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 Sanctions

Seventeen New Jersey schools have missed AYP for nine consecutive years.  An additional five schools are in Year 8 status and 65 schools are in Year 7 status.

NCLB has no provision for Year 7, 8 or 9 sanctions, but that doesn’t mean that DOE is not working with them,” Assistant Commissioner Gantwerk said.  “They all have individualized action plans focused on the major obstacles to achievement in each school, and the department provides many different support mechanisms depending on the school’s specific needs.

“In addition, a major focus of the Race to the Top competition is improving underperforming schools like these, and should we win the federal grant, we will dedicate a considerable portion of those funds to creating the tools and the local capacity to assist these schools,” the Assistant Commissioner said.

The various charts, fact sheets and background memos for New Jersey’s 2009-10 AYP report can be found here: