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Friday, August 31, 2012

A Primer on U.S. and Texas Accountability Systems

We often get questions about accountability, student testing and what it all means to Mansfield ISD.

The following is based on the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Presentation given to the MISD School Board on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 by Dr. Jim Vaszauskas, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability:

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) refers to the federally mandated accountability system required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)...

No Child Left Behind

  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed by Congress in 2001.
  • In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the bill into law.
  • Measures reading and math in grades 3-8 and grade 10.
  • Ultimate goal is to have all (100%) children proficient in reading and math by 2014.
  • NCLB as originally passed expired in 2007.
  • The reauthorization and rewrite of NCLB have stalled in Congress. The House committee and Senate committee that oversee education have completed their respective rewrites but no additional action has been taken.
  • The secretary of education is allowing states to apply for waivers, IF they agree to certain stipulations: common core curriculum, college readiness standards, etc.
  • Schools are measured in reading and math in grades 3-8 and 10.
  • 7 student groups are measured: all students, African American, Hispanic, white, Special Education (SPED), English language learners (ELL), and economically disadvantaged.
  • SPED has a 3% cap on modified testing. Students over this cap are counted as failures even if they pass the test.
  • Schools typically must meet more than 30 standards. Schools that miss one or more standards are deemed to have missed AYP.

AYP Sanctions

  • Schools that fail in one or more categories miss AYP and IF they accept *Title 1 funding are subject to sanctions.
  • Sanctions become more punitive for campuses that miss AYP in the same student group and subject over time.
  • Sanctions escalate: school choice, tutoring, new curriculum, fire principal and staff, reconstitute school.
  • Schools that do not accept Title 1 funding are NOT subject to any sanctions.

The Politics of NCLB

  • The Federal Secretary of Education has granted waivers from AYP requirements to 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico (as of May 11, 2012).
  • Texas is not applying for a waiver.
  • Texas' accountability system differs from NCLB in the subjects tested, the student groups counted, passing standards, and sanctions. STAAR passing standards 3-8 will not be set until next year, but the state had to develop a bridge ranking to determine passing standards this year.
  • It is possible to be highly ranked on the state accountability system and miss AYP.
  • All MISD schools are held to the standards of the state accountability system.
  • The federal accountability system (AYP) must be calculated for all MISD schools; however, only 19 of our schools (Title 1) are held to the sanctions.
  • AYP has been removed in both House and Senate committee drafts. (However, the law's reauthorization has stalled in Congress until presumably after the Presidential election.)

State-wide Issues

  • Approximately 71% of Texas districts missed AYP.
  • Alvarado, Arlington, Birdville, Crowley, Dallas, Duncanville, Eagle-Mountain Saginaw, Everman, Fort Worth, Grapevine Colleyville, Grand Prairie, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Irving, Keller, Kennedale, Lake Worth, Mansfield, Midlothian, Northwest, Plano, Weatherford, and White Settlement school districts missed AYP.
  • No make up tests were counted this year.
  • Passing standards for STAAR have not been set.
  • Texas implemented a completely new criterion referenced test in 2011-12 – State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) – to replace the TAKS test that had been in existence for eight years.

Mansfield ISD's Response to NCLB

  • Campuses (administration and teachers) are aware of their students' performance, both strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Campus Improvement Plans will address targeted areas.
  • Principals of schools that missed AYP will analyze performance data in January for necessary mid-course corrections and interventions.
  • Elementary campuses are moving to a more consistent intervention and inclusion (co-teach) model.
  • We are continuing to follow our curriculum management plan: three years ago, we trained our employees; two years ago, we wrote our curriculum; last year, we implemented our curriculum; this year, we revised our curriculum based on teacher feedback and we are developing common assessments for k-6.

Additional Staff Development

  • Additional intensive professional development for intermediate and middle school math teachers on teaching the hard to reach student.
  • Additional intensive professional development for SPED department on SPED Cap requirements.
  • Additional intensive professional development for our ELL department on closing the gap.
  • We continue to work with our teachers on teaching a guaranteed, viable curriculum.
*Title 1: To qualify as a Title 1 school, at least 40% of the students enrolled must qualify for the free and reduced meal plan. Mansfield ISD has economically disadvantaged students at all 41 schools, but unless they attend a school where at least 40%  of the student enrollment is on the free and reduced meal plan, they do not receive any federal Title 1 support.

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Photo credit: atomicity via Flickr Creative Commons