Schools evaluate AYP

Published 8:37 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The school division’s elementary schools struggled in reading, but all subgroups met all math benchmarks set forth by No Child Left Behind standards.

Suffolk’s high schools, however, went the opposite direction — all high school subgroups met the standards for reading, but some fell short in math.

As for middle schools, John F. Kennedy missed math benchmarks in several subgroups, and King’s Fork fell short of the mark in several subgroups in both subjects. John Yeates was the only middle school to make adequate yearly progress. Forest Glen surpassed the goal in all subgroups for both subjects, but missed its goal for the attendance rate by one percentage point.

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Only seven Suffolk schools — Booker T. Washington, Elephant’s Fork, Kilby Shores, Mount Zion, Northern Shores and Southwestern elementary schools and John Yeates Middle School — made all of their goals in all subgroups, and therefore made AYP. The division as a whole missed AYP because the economically disadvantaged and special education subgroups missed the mark in both reading and math.

At Creekside and Driver/Florence Bowser, the economically disadvantaged subgroup missed the mark in reading — the only missed benchmark for both schools.

Schools will be reevaluating their school improvement plans based on their performances this year, said Steven Edwards, supervisor of testing and research for Suffolk Public Schools.

“We look at all the subgroups individually, and the data by subgroups, to determine how our students performed on the SOL testing,” Edwards said.

AYP data is based on the Standards of Learning tests administered each year. In reading, the benchmark was 81 percent for the school as a whole and for each subgroup — black, white, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, special education and limited English proficiency. In math, the benchmark was 79 percent.

A passing score on an SOL test for AYP purposes is 400 on a scale of 0-600. A score of 500 is considered advanced proficiency.

Several schools now will be forced to offer public school choice and supplemental educational services. Elephant’s Fork, Mack Benn Jr., Mount Zion and Hillpoint will offer public school choice this year. Elephant’s Fork also must offer services like free tutoring to certain students.

Title I schools face the sanctions after missing AYP in the same subject area for two or more consecutive years. They must make AYP for two consecutive years before sanctions are over.

At every school, the school as a whole met the benchmark in reading. Only King’s Fork and Lakeland high schools missed the mark in math as an entire school. At John F. Kennedy Middle School, only 77 percent of students hit the mark, but the failure rate had decreased at least 10 percent points from the previous year, putting it under “safe harbor” rules. The safe harbor rule stipulates that any subgroup that decreases failure rate by at least 10 percentage points from the year before will still be shown as making AYP.