GCS Releases Preliminary AYP Data for 2010-11

While Guilford County Schools (GCS) showed gains on many of the elements that determine whether schools and districts have met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard under federal No Child Left Behind legislation, the district's overall performance on AYP aligns with gloomy expectations predicted by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In testimony before Congress in March, Duncan stated that as many as 82 percent of schools in the country could fail to meet AYP proficiency levels this year.

GCS reported marked gains in its graduation rate and on End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) proficiency, but not in AYP.  In preliminary data released today, 24.8 percent of the district's schools met all targets set forth by the state to achieve AYP. Out of 117 schools measured, 29 made AYP standards, compared with 47 schools or 59.5 percent in 2010.

Benchmark standards set by the state must be met by every subgroup for the school to be considered passing AYP. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction raises benchmark standards every three years, including this year, with the ultimate goal of having 100 percent of students reaching 100 percent of the goals by 2014. The benchmarks standards for North Carolina this year reflect increases of between of 11.4 and 30.8 percent from 2010. 

If one subgroup misses just one of its targets, the entire school is considered to have missed AYP. Throughout GCS, schools may have between three and 37 targets they must meet, including limited English proficient students and students with disabilities.

Schools that made significant progress on End-of-Grade (EOG) or End-of-Course (EOC) testing may not achieve AYP. One example this year is Oak Hill Elementary, which had the biggest EOG proficiency gains in the district of 19.4 percentage points. Even with great gains and having met 19 of its 21 AYP targets, the school is not considered to have made AYP.

"While Guilford County Schools pays attention to AYP results, we look at other measures to determine our success in accordance with our strategic plan," says Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green. "When we look at data that AYP determinations rely on, such as End of Grade and End of Course testing and graduation rates, we see that more students are succeeding."

Despite increasingly difficult standards, seven schools have made AYP every year since 2003, when AYP standards were implemented: Brooks Global, Claxton, Millis Road, Oak Ridge, Southern and Summerfield Elementary Schools and The Early College at Guilford. An additional three schools - Brown Summit Middle, The Middle College at GTCC-Greensboro and The Academy at Smith - have made AYP every year since they opened.

Eight other schools have made AYP eight out of all nine years: Erwin Montessori, Southwest, Shadybrook, Morehead, Nathanael Greene and Sedalia Elementary Schools, Northwest Middle and The Middle College at GTCC-Jamestown.

AYP is an indicator used in conjunction with No Child Left Behind legislation, a federal standard that will require all schools to be 100 proficient by 2014. Select End of Grade and End of Course tests, as well as attendance or graduation rates, are evaluated for a variety of subgroups.

The Board of Education passed a resolution at its July 12 meeting asking that schools not meeting AYP criteria be protected from sanctions pending the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002 by President Bush and since has been the subject of much debate.

Secretary Duncan has urged Congress to rewrite the law but also has vowed to " provide relief in exchange for reform " through waivers if Congress can't move quickly enough.