District Adequate Yearly Progress: Highlights
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2011 Rio Rancho Public Schools AYP Ratings and Information

On Friday, July 22, the Public Education Department released its annual Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports for the state and for schools and school districts. AYP measures progress towards the federally-mandated goal in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that 100% of students be proficient in reading and math by the year 2014. 
 
It is important to note that these reports do not tell parents and the community how schools are doing this year as compared to previous years because of changes to the test and the way proficiency is defined. We would also note that the term “AYP Not Met” does not mean a school or group of students is failing. It can mean only 20% of students in a school are proficient – or it can mean 70% of students in a school are proficient. We have always said it is important that parents and the public look beyond the label to see how schools are doing, and that parents be sure to bring any questions to their child’s teacher or principal. 
 
What is AYP, and how do you meet it?
 
In order to make AYP, a school has to meet the state targets on all of up to 37 possible data points measuring the percentage of students deemed proficient, the percentage of students participating in the test, and graduation for schools with a graduating class or attendance for all other schools.  If a school does not reach the target in even one area, the school is rated AYP Not Met.  For additional information about AYP, please click here.  To view results for individual schools in Rio Rancho, please click here.  Additional information about AYP and results for schools statewide are available on the Public Education Department website, www.ped.state.nm.us
 
Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera notes that 87% of schools in New Mexico did not make AYP this year. She says, however, that she does not feel this is indicative of the quality in of our schools, nor does she believe that 87% of our schools are failing. Rather, it is a product of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requirement that all schools achieve 100% proficiency by the year 2014.    
 
As occurred last year, no schools in the Rio Rancho Public Schools district made AYP, even though preliminary analyses of New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment (NMSBA) data and other assessments suggest our students’ performance overall continues to improve.  We are carefully analyzing this data to determine areas where we need to target changes and improvement in instruction, both district-wide and at the school level.

Why can’t this year’s AYP data be compared to last year’s?

In discussions with the school board last year, Superintendent Sue Cleveland stated that it was very possible no Rio Rancho schools would make AYP in 2011 due to the sharp increases expected in the state targets for percentage of students demonstrating proficiency.  This situation was exacerbated by a second change we did not expect – a change to proficiency cut scores that makes it more challenging for students to be deemed proficient.   
  • The state targets for the percentage of students who have to reach proficiency or above in order for a school or subgroup to make AYP (called Annual Measurable Objectives, or AMO’s) went up by 10% to 15%. The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic status, English language learner status, or disability, be proficient in math and reading by 2014. The increase in the AMO’s was expected as the state continues to raise the bar for percentage of students demonstrating proficiency to 100% by 2014.
  • The state also redefined “proficiency” by changing the “cut scores” which determine how well a student must do on the test in order to be deemed “proficient.”  Students generally must now answer more items on the tests correctly in order to demonstrate proficiency, which makes the standard more rigorous. 
This alteration towards rigor affected primarily reading cut scores (the bar in math was already set very high).  This change to the cut scores was not expected and, as with the increase in the AMO’s, the changes generally have the effect of making it more difficult for a school or subgroup to make AYP.  
  • This “double whammy” – a tougher definition of proficiency and higher targets for the percentage of students considered to be proficient – caused many more subgroups of students in our schools to not make AYP.  This is especially true in schools that were previously close to not making AYP for various subgroups and for all students.
We would note that one effect of the change in cut scores, coupled with changes to the tests themselves (the number of multiple-choice questions was increased and “constructed response” questions decreased) is to make this year’s data not comparable to that of past years.  This year will establish a new, more rigorous baseline for measuring student gains.  
 
Is there any way we can tell if our students/schools improved this year?
 
A very preliminary analysis of what the data might have looked like had the cut scores remained the same suggests that the percentage of students demonstrating proficiency districtwide would have increased in reading at all grade levels except for third, and in math for all grade levels except for third and sixth.  The district’s other measures of assessing student progress, such as the ACT and NWEA “levels” data, continue to show that our students are achieving a level comparable to or better than previous years.  

We are disappointed that none of our schools made AYP and are dedicated to continuing to improve results for students. We feel it is important to note that despite a significant loss in district resources and significant stresses on families caused by the current economic situation, Rio Rancho’s student performance has for the most part remained steady or even increased. Our teachers and staff have worked very hard despite the sacrifices required by these tough economic times to prepare students for success beyond high school. Our students can be proud of all they have learned in the last school year.

Reports & Information
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Last Updated: 11/05/2013 09:14 AM

Mission: Rio Rancho Public Schools is dedicated to graduating each student with an educational foundation for success as a responsible, ethical contributor to society.

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