More Iowa schools and districts miss NCLB targets
More Iowa schools and districts missed Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) state targets for test participation and proficiency in reading and mathematics in the 2011-12 school year, according to the 2012 State Report Card for No Child Left Behind released today by the Iowa Department of Education. The number of schools and districts identified as “in need of assistance” based on performance in the 2011-12 school year also climbed.
The results are linked to higher expectations set by the Iowa Core standards, the state’s comprehensive roadmap for what K-12 students should learn in school. A new version of the state assessment that Iowa students took in the 2011-12 school year was more challenging because it was aligned with the Iowa Core standards, Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said.
“Student achievement will be stronger in the long run as our state assessments evolve to match our standards, which have been raised to better prepare students for the demands of our globally competitive marketplace,” Glass said.
However, Glass expressed concern that the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 holds schools to unrealistic measures and then labels those that fall short as failing. The Iowa Department of Education will continue to seek permanent relief from the law, he said.
“We expect our schools to meet high standards, but we need an approach that focuses on student growth and progress in addition to proficiency on tests,” Glass said. “Either reauthorization of No Child Left Behind must become a priority at the federal level, or our state legislature must give the Iowa the ability to receive a federal waiver from No Child Left Behind, which would allow us to develop a rigorous accountability system that makes sense for our state.”
Last month, the executive directors of the Iowa Association of School Boards, the Iowa State Education Association, the School Administrators of Iowa, and the Iowa Department of Education sent a joint letter to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa offering a set of principles for revising the No Child Left Behind Act as Congress considers the reauthorization of the law.
No Child Left Behind requires public schools and districts to meet state AYP target increases for the overall student population and for demographic subgroups in grades 3-8 and grade 11. These subgroups include socio-economic status, limited English proficiency, race/ethnicity and special education.
Schools must meet all targets in every student group to meet AYP and must test 95 percent of students in each group.
The U.S. Department of Education has put in place regular target increases to ensure schools meet the No Child Left Behind requirement that 100 percent of students meet grade-level standards in reading and mathematics by 2014.
Targets for the 2011-12 school year did not increase in Iowa because the state requested and received a one-year freeze in June, shortly after the U.S. Department of Education turned down Iowa’s application from a waiver from certain requirements of No Child Left Behind.
The targets vary by grade level and subject, but in most cases they are set at about 80 percent and would have increased by about 7 percent had Iowa’s request for short-term relief been denied.
“Without this temporary relief, we would have seen an even higher number of schools and districts miss AYP,” Glass said.
Results from the State Report Card show 800 of 1,381 public schools (58 percent) missed AYP, up from 37.4 percent of schools that fell short the previous year. Sixty-one out of 351 school districts (17 percent) missed AYP in 2011-12, up from 11 percent of districts that fell short the previous year.
No Child Left Behind includes consequences for Title I public schools that consistently do not meet AYP state targets for test participation and proficiency. Schools and districts that do not meet targets in either the “all students” group or any one of the demographic subgroups within the required grade spans in reading or mathematics for two consecutive years are identified as “in need of assistance.” Schools and districts that do not meet goals for average daily attendance rate and high school graduation rate for two consecutive years also are identified as “in need of assistance.” Districts and schools remain “in need of assistance” until they have met AYP for two consecutive years.
Based on 2011-12 performance, 28 of 351 school districts (8 percent) were identified as districts in need of assistance for the 2012-13 school year, down slightly from 8.4 percent identified the previous year. A total of 496 out of 1,381 public schools (35.9 percent) were identified as schools in need of assistance for the 2012-13 school year, up from 29.6 percent identified the previous year.
The 2012 State Report Card and report cards from previous years are available at: State Report Cards (PK-12)