By Betsy Dolan
Fort Bend ISD is assessing its resources to best meet student needs after receiving news that it did not meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in math for the federal No Child Left Behind program.
Dr. Jan Moore, FBISD’s Director of Accountability, held a workshop for the Board of Trustees September 24 to explain how the district and specific campuses fared with the AYP, which requires all public schools to meet minimum standards on student testing in reading and math. No Child Left Behind requires 100% proficiency in reading and math by 2014.
“Our district has been designated as ‘in need of improvement in mathematics’,” Moore told the board. “FBISD has missed AYP in math for the last two years. Prior to that we had not missed AYP ever.” In 2012, 72% of Texas school districts and 56% of Texas campuses failed to meet AYP.
School districts are evaluated on student performance in five sub-groups: all students, ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged, Special Education and Limited English Proficient (LEP). In mathematics, Fort Bend ISD did not meet AYP in Special Education in 2011 but did in 2012. This year the district fell short in the African American and economically disadvantaged sub groups.
School districts can fail to meet the AYP in the sub-groups for two years before facing sanctions by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Moore says FBISD is already forming a district committee that will strategize a strong math improvement plan to submit to the TEA in October. The district must also earmark 10% of Title 1 funds for staff development in math as well as notify parents, which the district did by mail, in early September.
Moore also told the board that 29 campuses missed AYP this year including 11 Title 1 schools that missed AYP for the first time. Four Title 1 campuses– Willowridge High School, Christina McAuliffe Middle School, Hodges Bend Middle School and Ridgemont Elementary–have missed AYP for two consecutive years.
“We were not surprised by the performance of those four campuses,” Moore said. “We knew last year that they had missed their AYP for one year already. There was the potential for six Title 1 schools to have not made AYP but Ridgegate and Rosa Parks both made it.”
Schools that receive Title I federal funding and fail to make adequate progress for two years or more in the same subject face a number of sanctions and risk losing federal dollars if improvement is not made. FBISD has implemented “School Choice” for the four campuses that did not make AYP which means that students can transfer to a different school in the district and FBISD will pay for any increased transportation costs. Moore told the board that 150 students have transferred to other schools. In addition, Moore said, each campus principal has formed a campus leadership team to construct an improvement plan.
“Until we have some change with the system, we are forced to operate within it,” Moore said. “So you begin to see that we could be doing this with even more campuses next year.”
This year’s AYP evaluations are based on results from the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) standardized tests. But because passing standards on those tests are not yet complete, Texas officials used a bridge study to convert raw scores on the STAAR to comparable scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam, which is being phased out. Federal education officials rejected the Texas Education Agency’s request to hold off on AYP this year because of the new testing system.
This year, the passing rate needed for reading is 87 percent, up from 80 percent in 2011 and 83 percent of students must pass the math test, up from 75 percent.
Student attendance or graduation rates and percentage of students who take the tests are also factors.