NCLB results to be released in August | NevadaAppeal.com

NCLB results to be released in August

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Though it will be Aug. 1 before the names of the schools not making adequate yearly progress will be announced, administrators at each of Carson City School District’s nine schools are reviewing results now.

“It’s pretty time-consuming,” said Mike Watty, director of education services for the school district. “They have to go through the data for every student and make sure each student is correctly identified in each subgroup.”

The process also includes verifying the calculations for each of the subgroups, calculations which allow smaller subgroups to slightly increase the number of proficient students due to smallness of the group.

“My understanding was there were some possible errors in some calculations on a couple of things,” Watty said.

That is already being worked out with the state.

School administrators received results in June and can begin appealing results Friday.

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Results on criterion reference tests and high school proficiency exams shown to the school board in June reveal that at each testing grade level – third, fifth, eighth and high school – students passed target proficiency scores, except in high school math.

But the real picture about progress will emerge in August when the results broken down among schools and its subgroups becomes public.

“At each school as a whole we’re looking very good,” Watty said. “When you look at individual test scores, there are subgroups at many of the schools that did not meet the levels.”

Despite the possible academic gaps between the seven subgroups – American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, White, Free and Reduced Lunch, special education and limited English proficiency – each is expected to meet the same proficiency level.

“It’s a noble goal,” Watty said. “It’s something we all need to work toward, but I don’t think having the same target score for everyone is as effective a measurement as a growth target for each student.”

In addition to requiring a certain percentage of students be proficient on tests, the percentage which varies at grade level and whether it’s math or English, Senate Bill 1, Nevada’s version of No Child Left Behind, requires that 95 percent of students take the tests. For example, in a subgroup of 30 students, if more than one student misses test day, the school fails to meet adequate yearly progress.

Another caveat to passing is that schools must have a 90 percent attendance rate throughout the year in the student body as a whole and in the seven subgroups.

So even if the subgroup passes the participation requirement and the proficiency requirement, the attendance requirement can put the school in need of adequate yearly progress.

By 2013, 100 percent of students are expected to be proficient in the subjects of math, English and science, which students in fifth, eighth and 10th grade will begin testing in next year.

Watty said that adequate yearly progress is weighted toward the lowest performing students, who often fall into a greater number of subgroups. A student could conceivably fall into four of the seven subgroups.

“The students in the subgroups carry much more weight than a Caucasian student at the median income level,” Watty said by way of example. “Those students are counted twice, whereas some of the other students are counted multiple times.”

It takes one subgroup one test area, one participation level or one yearly attendance watermark to fail and the school as a whole is labeled in need of improvement.

“From our perspective it does matters if (adequate yearly progress) is not made in multiple areas or in one area because it gives us more of a strategy to focus on,” Watty said. “From the public’s perception, and I’m not blaming the press, when the headline is printed that a school is in need of improvement, it sells.”

Schools failing to make adequate yearly progress over consecutive years are subject to a variety of penalties, including allowing students to choose another school and eventually replacing teachers and administrators.

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

By the Numbers

Test No. of students required to District results

be proficient in 2004-05

Third-grade reading CRT 39.6 percent 45 percent

Third-grade math CRT 45.4 percent 50 percent

Fifth-grade reading CRT 39.6 percent 47 percent

Fifth-grade math CRT 45.4 percent 50 percent

Eighth-grade reading CRT 47.5 percent 65 percent

Eighth-grade math CRT 43.3 percent 58 percent

Reading High School 77.9 percent 81 percent

Math High School 52.3 percent 46 percent

• Adequate yearly progress for each school is based on the individual school’s performance, not districtwide results. The proficient percentage requirement will remain at the above numbers until the 2007-08 school , when they increase with the objective of 100 percent of proficient students in 2013.

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