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For Release: August 22, 2006


New Jersey 2005-06 No Child Left Behind Act AYP Report

Almost 71 percent of the 2,209 New Jersey schools in which state tests were administered this spring met the standards for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) based on a preliminary analysis of their test results, state Department of Education officials announced today.  

A total of 643 schools – 26.5 percent of New Jersey’s total 2,422 schools and 29 percent of the tested schools – did not make AYP.  In 2004-05, 822 schools – 34 percent of the total public schools in the state last year and 37.8 percent of the tested schools – did not meet the AYP benchmarks.

This year, 574 schools – 23.7 percent of New Jersey’s total 2,422 schools – did not make AYP for two or more years in a row and have been identified as “Schools In Need of Improvement” (SINI) under NCLB.  In 2005, 544 schools – 22.7 percent of the state’s schools – were on the SINI list.

“While we have been supportive of the federal attempt to quantify accountability, it’s important for schools, parents and the public to understand that the New Jersey DOE doesn’t regard AYP as the only measurement of student achievement or progress,” said acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy.

“We have very high expectations and very high standards here, and while we are making progress, there is still a great deal to be done if we are to prepare our children to compete in the 21st century,” she said.

The acting Commissioner noted that direct comparisons between this year’s results and the 2005 results would be difficult to make for a number of reasons, including:

  • More schools are involved because fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade tests were administered for the first time this spring, making New Jersey fully compliant with the NCLB requirement that students be tested in grades three through eight and once in high school.  Last year, tests were administered in 2,172 schools.
  • The US Department of Education gave New Jersey permission to include a confidence interval (similar to what may be termed a “margin of error”) in calculating schools’ AYP results.
  • The tests results for elementary (grades 3-5) and middle (grades 5-7) were aggregated when they were housed in the same school.

The acting Commissioner said the preliminary (or “Cycle I”) analysis of the test data used to identify schools in today’s report does not include the scores on the alternate proficiency assessments (APAs) administered to students with the most serious disabilities.

Those assessments will be hand-graded and the results will be folded into the Cycle II analysis for each school later this year.  In prior years, the AYP status of approximately five percent of the state’s schools has been affected in some manner after the Cycle II analysis.

“We have also noted some anomalies and changes in some schools’ status this year that could have been caused by reconfigurations within the districts or changes to schools’ identification codes,” acting Commissioner Davy said.  “We will be looking into any changes that appear to be unusual in any sense.”   

How Schools Achieve AYP

AYP calculations are based on schools’ scores in the HSPA (High School Proficiency Assessment), the GEPA (Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment) and the NJASK3, NJASK4, NJASK5, NJASK6 and NJASK7 (New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge, Grades Three through Seven.). The tests are administered in the spring.

This year, DOE officials aggregated the data for the third, fourth and fifth grade tests and sixth, seventh and eighth grade tests when the grades were housed in the same school.  This resulted in the establishment of three grade spans:

  • Elementary – Grades three, four and five
  • Middle – Grades six, seven and eight
  • High School – Grade 11

The percentages of students required to meet the proficiency targets in 2006 were the same as those used in 2005:

           Subject

 Elementary
(Grades 3-5)

Middle School
  (Grades 6-8)

High School
 (Grade 11)

Language Arts Literacy

75%

66%

79%

Math

62%

49%

64%

In order to achieve AYP, a school’s students must meet both the proficiency targets and a 95 percent participation rate in the math and language arts assessments for each grade span at the school and for each of ten subgroups: total grade population, students with disabilities, limited English proficient (LEP) students, economically disadvantaged students and white, Hispanic, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Native American students.

In New Jersey, for participation calculations, if a subgroup in a grade span at a school contains fewer than 40 students, that subgroup’s performance is not included in the AYP calculation.  For proficiency calculations, the minimum subgroup count is 20, except for the students with disabilities subgroup, for which the count is 35.

The students in each subgroup in a grade span with more than the minimum number must meet the proficiency and participation benchmarks in both content areas.  If a school misses any one of the 40 indicators (participation and proficiency in both LAL and math, times ten subgroups) in any grade span tested at the school, it has not made AYP.

“The aggregation of the two sets of three grades makes comparisons to last year difficult,” said Suzanne Ochse, the Director of DOE’s Title I Program Planning Office.  “One impact was the increase of the numbers of students in each subgroup, so in many cases the minimum number of 20 or 35 has been surpassed and for the first time in some schools and the performances of specific subgroups are included in the school’s AYP calculations.

“However, if we calculated each grade’s test results separately, a K-8 school would have had to have made a total of 240 indicators (40 for each of the six tests administered at the school) in order to make AYP.  We also felt that the aggregation provided a better overall picture of a school’s performance,” Ochse said.

Schools that do not achieve the proficiency targets may make AYP under the “Safe Harbor” provision if the number of students not achieving proficiency in a grade span decreases by more than ten percent.

“Early Warning” Status

If a school misses AYP in any one of the 40 indicators for any grade span after having achieved AYP in prior years, it is placed on DOE’s "Early Warning" list.

“Early Warning” schools face no NCLB sanctions. This is a category developed by New Jersey as a way to remind school officials that if they do not make AYP in the following year, they will be placed on the NCLB SINI list.

This year, 439 schools are on the “Early Warning” list.  Two hundred and fifty-one of those schools are in “Early Warning Hold” status, which means that while they made AYP this year, they did not make it in the 2004-05 school year.  Schools must make AYP two years in a row in order to be removed from either the “Early Warning” or SINI list.

Sanctions for Schools that Do Not Make AYP Two or More Years in a Row

SINI schools that receive federal Title I funds and that do not make AYP two years in a row face sanctions that increase in severity each year that AYP is not made. The sanctions include parental notification, intra-district school choice, the use of 20 percent of their federal Title I money to provide tutoring and other assistance to struggling students, school improvement plans and technical assistance from the district and the state.

This year, 63 schools were removed from the SINI list after making AYP two years in a row.

Year 2 Status

One hundred and ninety-four schools were notified that they did not achieve AYP two years in a row in the same content area and were placed in the Year 2 "School Choice" status. Any of these schools that receive Title I funding must offer parents intra-district school choice at another school that did achieve AYP within the district.  Last year, 173 schools were in Year 2 status.

If choice is not available in the district – either because there is only one school at that grade level in the district or because the other schools at the grade level are either already at capacity or did not make AYP – the school must offer supplemental educational services, such as tutoring, and develop and implement a school improvement plan.

“The good news in this area is that 45 schools that were in ‘School Choice’ status last year made AYP this year and were placed in Year 2 ‘Hold’ status,” said acting Commissioner Davy. “If they continue their good work and achieve AYP in the specific content area again next year, they will be removed from the NCLB school improvement list entirely.”

An additional 149 schools remain in Year 2 status because the content area in which they missed AYP this year was different from the content area in which they missed it in 2004-05, or because they made AYP at one grade span but did not make it at another.

Year 3 Status

Missing AYP for three years in a row were 147 schools which are now in the third level of AYP sanctions, "Supplemental Educational Services."  If they receive Title I funding, they are required to offer parents in-district choice, if feasible, and supplemental educational services, such as tutoring, using 20 percent of the Title I money they receive.  They must also complete a school improvement plan.

Last year, 262 schools were in Year 3 status; 102 of those schools made AYP this year and are now in Year 3 “Hold” status.

Year 4 Status

One hundred and sixty-four schools received notice that they had not achieved AYP in the same content area for the fourth consecutive year and are now placed in Year 4 "Corrective Action" status.  Any of those schools which receive federal Title I funding must allot 20 percent of their Title I funds for parental options, such as intra-district school choice, if feasible, and supplemental educational services, such as tutoring; complete or update a school improvement plan and undergo a comprehensive review; and take other corrective actions.

Four schools in Year 4 status last year made AYP in 2006 and in are in Year 4 “Hold” status.

Year 5 Status

Seventeen schools that did not make AYP for five consecutive years are in Year 5 “Restructuring” status.  Thirteen of these schools made AYP in 2006 and are in Year 5 “Hold” status, and one middle school that had been in Year 5 last year has since closed.

The remaining four schools now face more severe federal sanctions, as administrators must begin planning for restructuring and for the implementation of the restructuring plan in the 2007-08 school year should the school miss the AYP proficiency targets next year.

Under NCLB rules, restructuring requires the imposition of an alternative governance arrangement for the school.  In New Jersey, this could involve major operational or governance changes within the school, the replacement of all or most of the school’s staff deemed relevant to the school’s inability to make progress, or the re-opening of the school as a charter school.

DOE officials are already working with the Year 5 schools to help them create and implement a blueprint for change and identify their responsibilities and options under NCLB rules.  All of the schools have been visited by DOE-sponsored CAPA (Collaborative Assessment and Planning for Achievement) teams, which help identify obstacles to student achievement and develop customized solutions to each school’s problems.

Most Serious – Year 6 Sanctions

Fifty-two schools that have not made AYP for six consecutive years and are now in Year 6 status are in the process of implementing restructuring plans that have been submitted to DOE for approval.

The following links provide additional information on this story:

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Attached also is a link to a list of all New Jersey school districts that received Title I funding last year. The link is provided as a guide to assist in story development. The list of schools receiving Title I funding for the 2006-07 school year will not be available until October.  In addition, in some school districts, only some of the schools are eligible for Title I funds.  Reporters are encouraged to check with local school districts to determine which of their schools are eligible to receive Title I funds.

Title I schools for 2005-2006 school year: http://www.nj.gov/njded/title1/program/t1schools.pdf