Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 22, 2009
Improvement in NCLB tests aren’t unnoticed

It was reported in last Thursday’s edition of the Transcript-Bulletin that four schools in the Tooele County School District failed to meet standards for adequate yearly progress (AYP) this year set by the federal No Child Left Behind program (“County schools’ NCLB test scores improve,” Sept. 17).

That’s an improvement over six district schools failing in 2008 and nine schools in 2007.

This data shows that over the past three years, the school district has made an effort to examine the AYP test scores and develop plans to address areas where improvement is needed to help bring groups up to proficient levels.

This year, Grantsville and Copper Canyon elementary schools, as well as Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High and Tooele Junior High schools, failed to achieve adequate yearly progress. None of the six elementary schools that did not make adequate yearly progress last year — Anna Smith, East, Harris, Middle Canyon, Rose Springs and West elementary schools — are among schools this year that did not achieve AYP.

Each school’s performance is examined by looking at 10 subgroups of students: Asian, African-American, American Indian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, Economically Disadvantaged, Limited English Proficient, Students with Disabilities and Whole School. If any subgroup fails to meet the ever-increasing NCLB demands, the entire school is rated as not making adequate yearly progress.

We applaud the school district and its educators for improvement in adequate yearly progress over the past several years and hope improvement continues to be the goal, even as tests get progressively more difficult.

While some educators may prefer the state’s Utah Performance Assessment System for Students (U-PASS), which measures the performance of the same student from year to year, over AYP, which compares the current year’s grade level to the prior year’s grade level, the results of AYP still have some merit. Like AYP, four Tooele County schools did not meet minimum standards: Settlement Canyon Elementary, Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High, Tooele Junior High and Tooele South High.

No Child Left Behind may not be the best barometer for measuring academic achievement in language arts and math, but it is a measure of progress nonetheless.

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