Local News

State Releases Preliminary AYP Results for Schools

Posted August 17, 2007 3:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2007 11:55 p.m. EDT

— Wake County is often praised for its academic achievement and considered a model for other school systems to follow.

But, like other school systems, Wake County is finding the federal No Child Left Behind law tough to master.

Preliminary figures released Friday showed that, last year, only 43 percent of Wake County elementary and middle schools met the adequate yearly progress benchmark, or AYP. Just 13 percent of all schools in Durham made the grade.

Some say it's not an adequate way of assessing a school's progress.

“With the schools not meeting AYP, the next question should be, ‘How many targets did you make? Did you make most of those targets, or did you make a few of those targets?’” said State Superintendent June Atkinson.

The law looks at the students' end of grade test scores in reading and math. Those scores are broken into subgroups based on race, ethnicity, special needs and other factors.

A certain percentage of students in each group must pass in order to reach the target. If one group doesn't meet the target, the entire school fails.

“The all-or-nothing of AYP or No Child Left Behind really does need to be changed, because it doesn’t allow us to differentiate between the schools that need to give extra help to a certain group of students and the school that’s failing all students,” Atkinson said.

The consequences come into play when a subgroup fails to pass a particular subject area two years in a row. If that school receives federal money for disadvantaged students, it might be forced to offer tutoring or a transfer to students wishing to leave.

“One good thing about No Child Left Behind is that it shines a spotlight on all students,” Atkinson said. “And our schools must educate all students.”

The figures come from a preliminary report released by the state. Data for Wake County high schools is still being worked out by the Department of Public Instruction.

You can access the state's complete results, listed by county.