The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development announced Friday that 30 of the 44 schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District made adequate yearly progress through the most recent school year.
Each year, the Alaska Department of Education measures adequate yearly progress — or AYP — as mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The goal included in No Child Left Behind is 100 percent of students become proficient in language arts — reading and writing — and math by spring 2014.
Student proficiency is measured by performance in state assessments in these areas — reading, writing and math — for grades three through 10.
Yearly, schools around the country must meet set targets for the percentage of students who are proficient in these assessments. In addition, there are other subgroups — 31 in all — factored into a school’s AYP, including targets for attendance, graduation and participation, among others.
According to a news release from the Alaska Department of Education, if a school meets all of those targets assigned, then they have made AYP. Each year, however, the AYP targets increase and the bar for making AYP is raised.
Each raise is a stepping stone, of sorts, called annual measurable objectives, to achieve 100 percent student proficiency, said Pegge Erkeneff, communications specialist for KPBSD.
“With higher AMOs every year, the students who are rated proficient have not grown at a pace with federal requirements,” Erkeneff wrote in a news release. “This is true across the country as schools work to clear the high bar of 100 percent proficiency.”
Despite not keeping up with the federal requirements, Erkeneff said the school district is committed to helping teachers and administrators help students achieve success and become prepared for the future.
“We are definitely committed to hard work and everyone in our district believes every student can learn,” Erkeneff said. “We believe in our educators and administrators and we’re working hard.”
In 2010, 34 of KPBSD schools made AYP.
“Out of our 44 schools, if we look at the 10 that did not meet AYP last year, out of that 10 some of them did meet AYP this year and out of 14 that did not meet AYP this year, some of those did meet AYP last year,” Erkeneff said. “… It’s a different composite of schools this year.”
Of the 505 public schools across the state, 231 — or 45.7 percent — made AYP last year. As a whole, the percentage of schools making AYP declined by 14.1 percent across the state from last year, when proficiency and graduation targets were lower, according to Department of Education information.
Language arts and math scores contained in AYP are tested through the Standard Based Assessment. A proficient score on the SBA, Erkeneff said, is 300, and an advanced score is 400.
KPBSD students averaged 390 on reading, 375 on writing and 363 on math assessments.
However, “our average is much higher than this and continues to grow every year,” she wrote in a news release.
“We continue to lead the state in the averages for the reading, writing and math,” Erkeneff said.
KPBSD Superintendent Steve Atwater said he was please local schools did “fairly well” to those elsewhere around the nation.
“Fourteen of our 44 schools did not make 2011 AYP,” he said in a news release. “It is ironic that some of these schools may have improved test results from the previous year, but did not quite clear the higher bar.”
Atwater also mentioned that the “vast majority” of KPBSD schools that didn’t make AYP did so because one of the subgroups — such as students with disabilities — did not meet the state set percentage of proficiency.
“It is easy to assume that a school that did not make AYP is failing,” Atwater wrote in the release. “Before jumping to this conclusion, take some time to investigate the series of indicators that are considered for AYP and to learn whether the school improved. While AYP is an important designation, it may not, however, be a defining one.”
Individual school AYP results and an AYP overview is available online at www.eed.state.ak.us. Results for the KPBSD as a whole will be available Sept. 2.