Group met measure

   Group met goal using Confidence Interval

   Group met target using Safe Harbor

   Group met target using Safe Harbor with Confidence Interval

   Group met measure using Growth Model

   Group met goal or target using Pennsylvania Performance Index (2008 only)

   Group met goal or target using an Appeal

   Group met measure using Proxy (2009 only)

   Group did not meet measure

   Group met measure using two year data

   Group met measure using two year data with Confidence Interval

   Group met measure using three year data

   Group met measure using three year data with Confidence Interval

-   Fewer than 40 students tested

   Percentage includes two consecutive years of data

   Percentage includes three consecutive years of data

About Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in Pennsylvania

Why Adequate Yearly Progress?

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), holds districts/LEAs accountable to students, their parents, teachers, and the community. The purpose of AYP is to ensure that all students have reading and math skills that prepare them for the future. The law states that all students must reach the Proficient level or higher in Reading or Language Arts and Mathematics by 2014. Districts/LEAs and schools must show Adequate Yearly Progress on several measurable indicators: Attendance or Graduation Rate, Academic Performance, and Test Participation.

AYP measures determine whether a school or district/LEA is making sufficient annual progress towards the goal of 100% proficiency.

A school that misses only one measure will not meet AYP—but this does not mean it is a failing school. Rather, AYP indicates to school leadership that areas of opportunity exist. AYP can also identify schools with persistent and pervasive problems. Measuring AYP can prompt schools that consistently miss measures to make drastic improvements. While these improvements are being made, options are available to students, from tutoring to school choice.

At the district/LEA level, performance and participation are assessed in three grade spans: Grades 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12. To meet Academic Performance or Test Participation measures for AYP, the district/LEA needs to meet the goal/target for both subjects in one grade span only.

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What does Adequate Yearly Progress Measure?

AYP measures student results for three indicators, as illustrated–Attendance (for schools without a High School graduating class) or Graduation Rate (for schools with a High School graduating class); Academic Performance; and Test Participation. The details of AYP measurement can be complicated.

AYP requires that all groups of children reach proficiency in Reading or Language Arts and Mathematics – hence the phrase "no child left behind". These groups include all racial and ethnic backgrounds, students who are English Language Learners, economically disadvantaged students, and special education students. (When these subgroups contain fewer than 40 students, the subgroup is not separately evaluated for AYP).

States determine AYP performance based on students' standardized test scores each year. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) uses the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) to determine AYP performance. Participation in and performance on the PSSA, the PSSA-M (modified), and the PASA are cornerstones of measuring AYP results. As measured by the PSSA, students' scores fall into one of four performance levels:

  • Advanced (highest)
  • Proficient
  • Basic
  • Below Basic (lowest)

The specific measures to meet AYP in 2012 are listed below:

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What are the measures for School AYP?

  1. Attendance or Graduation Rate:
    • The Attendance goal is 90%, or a target of any improvement from the previous year.
    • Attendance applies to schools that do not have a high school graduating class, and the rate is based on the entire school.
    • The Graduation Rate measure has a goal of 85%, or a 10% reduction of the difference between the previous year's graduation rate and 85%.
    • The Graduation Rate applies to schools that have a high school graduating class and every measurable subgroup. Graduates are the number of students graduating in four years with a regular diploma. Cohort is described as first time entering 9th graders four years earlier plus “transfers in” over four years minus “transfers out” over four years. The graduation rate for any year is the number of graduates divided by the cohort for that year multiplied by 100.
  2. Achieving Proficiency (Academic Performance):
    Schools' AYP state goals are the percentage of students that must meet or exceed scores at the proficient level in Mathematics and Reading.
    • The PA state goals for this school year (2011-12) are 78% of students scoring at Proficient or higher in Mathematics and 81% of students scoring at Proficient or higher in Reading.
    • In 2013, these goals will increase to 89% of students scoring at Proficient or higher in Mathematics and 91% of students scoring at Proficient or higher in Reading.
    • These percentages will increase gradually until the year 2014 when the goal will be set at 100% of students scoring at Proficient or higher in Mathematics and Reading.
    • NCLB allows schools to meet their performance measure by "Safe Harbor". Safe Harbor states that if a school achieves a 10% decrease of students who scored below Proficient from the previous year, it meets the AYP target for performance.
    • The performance rate is based on only those students enrolled for the full academic year (enrolled as of October 1, 2011), who completed the test, and who are not first year "English Language Learners" students.
  3. Taking the Test (Test Participation):
    • At least 95% of students overall and within each subgroup must take the test.
    • The participation rate is based on those students enrolled as of the last day of the assessment window (March 30, 2012), regardless of whether or not those students were enrolled for a full academic year.
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What are the measures for District/LEA AYP?

District/LEA AYP uses all the individual student data from the district/LEA (not school level results) and organizes them into three distinct grade spans. By contrast, PA school indicators are based on all tested grades in the school. This means that the district/LEA level has potentially three times the number of indicators as the school level, and the district/LEA does not need to meet every indicator to meet AYP. Only one grade span needs to meet the goals or targets to satisfy goals for either Academic Performance or Test Participation in the two subjects. All subgroup goals or targets within the grade span must be met in order for the grade span to meet the measure.

How can an AYP measure be met?

Overall, a school or district/LEA either meets or does not meet AYP. While it only takes one missed goal or target to "Not Make AYP", (indicated by a: " Group did not meet target") there are several ways to meet AYP targets:

  • " Group met measure": indicates that the AYP goal was met for the school or district/LEA overall, or that a group met the measure by reaching the state goal.
  • " Group met goal using Confidence Interval": indicates that a group met the performance measure by the state goal criteria only when using a 95% Confidence Interval.
  • " Group met target using Safe Harbor": indicates that a group met the performance measure by the Safe Harbor improvement criteria, which requires a reduction of 10% from the previous year in the percentage of students who scored below Proficient.
  • " Group met target using Safe Harbor with Confidence Interval": indicates that a group met the performance measure by the Safe Harbor improvement criteria only when using a 75% Confidence Interval.
  • " Group met measure using Growth Model": indicates that a group or individuals met the performance measure through the use of projections to proficiency through the use of PVAAS data. This criteria is set by United States Department of Education.
  • " Group met goal or target using an Appeal": indicates that a group met AYP by appeal. This is generally based on extenuating circumstances, as outlined below.
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What does it mean to Meet AYP Targets by Safe Harbor?

A school or district/LEA can meet AYP performance through a provision called Safe Harbor, which is a measure of improvement in test performance. Safe Harbor is achieved when a subgroup has greatly improved since the previous year–even though they did not meet the state goal. (The target for Safe Harbor improvement is at least a 10% reduction from the previous year of the percentage of students who scored below Proficient for reading or mathematics). Please note that this metric will not be listed if the school or district/LEA met 2011-12 AYP performance without the Safe Harbor provision.

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What does it mean to meet AYP measures by Appeal?

Preliminary reports on school and district/LEA 2012 AYP status were available as of July 18, 2012.

If the school or district/LEA believed that its proposed identification was in error for statistical or other substantive reasons, the school or district/LEA appealed its AYP status by providing supporting evidence to uphold its claim to the Bureau of Assessment and Accountability at the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

This year, schools and districts/LEAs also had the opportunity to make data corrections by submitting a Data Correction Packet and updating their PIMS information.

Final determinations on appeals were made prior to the public release of this report. When AYP measures for schools or districts/LEAs have been met by appeal, this is indicated in the report.

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How is the Confidence Interval (C.I.) used in AYP decisions?

Confidence intervals take into account the fact that the students tested in any particular year might not be representative of students in that school across the years. Confidence intervals control for this sampling error or variation across years by promoting schools or subgroups that come very close to achieving their performance goal, thus meeting their specific goal. In 2004, the United States Department of Education approved a 95% Confidence Interval (C.I.) in Pennsylvania for AYP performance calculations. A 95% C.I. can be used for meeting the state performance goal, while a 75% C.I. can be used for meeting the Safe Harbor target.

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Why do some schools and districts/LEAs need to meet more goals or targets than others?

Schools and districts/LEAs need to meet AYP goals/targets for Academic Performance and Test Participation in the grade levels used for calculations. Results for subgroups are used only when there are 40 or more students in the group (although a school with fewer than 40 students is still accountable at the overall level). Thus, while NCLB defines 41 possible AYP goals/targets to meet, most schools and districts/LEAs in Pennsylvania do not have enough students to make all of these indicators applicable.

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What are the AYP status levels?

AYP reports the performance of schools and districts/LEAs in status levels that depend on the school or district's/LEA's performance in recent years. The AYP status levels are illustrated in the flow chart (with their paths across years, as well as actions at each level) linked here. The key that indicates the AYP status levels from highest to lowest is shown below:

  • Made AYP
  • Making Progress
  • Warning
  • School Improvement I
  • School Improvement II
  • Corrective Action I
  • Corrective Action II
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What happens to a school if it meets AYP measures?

There are two possibilities for schools that meet AYP measures this year, depending on their previous year's results:

  • Schools that met AYP measures last year, or that were at "Warning" status last year (e.g., the school did not meet AYP measures for the first time) will be on-track for meeting the NCLB goal of all students reaching proficiency by the year 2014 if they meet all AYP measures this year.
  • Schools that had a "School Improvement" or "Corrective Action" status last year enter a probationary period called "Making Progress". This means that the school must also meet AYP measures for a second consecutive year to be considered on-track to meet the NCLB goal. Next year, the school will receive "Made AYP" status if it meets all AYP measures again. However, if it does not meet all AYP measures for two consecutive years, the school will proceed to the next status level.
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What happens to a school if it does not meet AYP measures?

There are both supports and consequences for schools that do not meet the measures for two consecutive years. There are three possibilities for schools that do not meet AYP measures this year, depending on their previous year's results:

  • Schools that met all AYP measures last year but did not meet all AYP measures this year are put on "Warning" status. They need to meet AYP measures next year in order to be considered on-track for meeting the NCLB goal of all students reaching proficiency by the year 2014.
  • Schools that had a "Making Progress" status last year either had a "School Improvement" or "Corrective Action" status from two years ago. The school may drop to the status level beneath the status from two years ago if it fails to meet measures in the same subject that caused the school to enter "Improvement" or "Corrective Action" status the year before.
  • Schools that had a "Warning", "School Improvement" or "Corrective Action" status last year may drop to the status level beneath that status based on the subject missed.
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Which students are included in AYP reporting?

Reported AYP results may not be identical to school or district's/LEA's own results. This could be for several reasons:

  • Certain students are not included in AYP calculations as indicated in the "School AYP" section above.
  • To respect student privacy, results may only be reported publicly on groups with at least ten students. Additionally, reliability is a concern as reporting on small groups can sometimes cause statistical fluctuations. The state-defined minimum number of students for reporting and accountability is set at a minimum of 40 students to satisfy reliability requirements. For additional protection of confidentiality and for increased reliability, AYP results may be based on data from this year only, or on an average of up to three years of data.
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What is the Growth Model?

The Growth Model recognizes the efforts of schools and districts/LEAs whose students have not achieved proficiency but are on trajectories towards proficiency on future PSSA exams. The Growth Model will be calculated for Performance Indicators (i.e., the all student group and up to nine subgroups). Projected scores are calculated for all students - including students who are proficient. If a projected score cannot be calculated for a particular student, the student’s actual score is used. The Growth Model will be applied to an AYP Performance Indicator only if the indicator cohort has not met AYP performance by any of the existing goals or targets. Actual, not projected, PASA scores, PSSA-M scores, 3rd grade scores, and 11th grade scores are always used, as well as the scores for any students with insufficient data points to make a projection.

Grade Last Tested Scores used in Growth Model Calculation
3Actual Grade 3 Scores
4Projected Scores in Grade 6
5Projected Scores in Grade 7
6Projected Scores in Grade 8
7Projected Scores in Grade 8
8Projected Scores in Grade 11
11Actual Grade 11 Scores

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