State releases schools' Adequate Yearly Progress reports

By Ian Silver  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina State Department of Education released the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports for South Carolina schools Monday morning.  The reports measure the progress schools have made in meeting educational goals over the course of the school year.

In order to have made adequate yearly progress, schools must have at least 58 percent of students proficient in English and math as measured on the PASS standardized testing students are required to complete. Attendance and graduation rates play into the equation as well. The goals are laid out by the Federal No Child Left Behind initiative.

Schools not meeting one or more of their objectives are judged not to have met their progress goals.

This year, 556 of 905, or about 61 percent of elementary and middle schools made annual yearly progress. That is up from 59 percent last year.

For high schools, 71 percent of students must be proficient in English and 70 percent in math. Just 13 of 184 high schools met all of their annual yearly progress goals, the same as last year.

Of those that didn't, 80 fell short by missing just one to five goals.

Overall, South Carolina met 35 of its 37 goals, but fell short of making adequate yearly progress. Last year, the state made 34 of 37 goals.

State education superintendent Jim Rex warns the "adequate yearly progress" benchmarks increase dramatically next year.

"People are starting to understand how fundamentally dysfunctional the federal rating system is," Rex said. "Unless congress takes a more common sense approach, these ratings will become a joke to parents and the public."

In 2011, the percentage of South Carolina elementary and middle school students who must score proficient on math and English tests will jump from about 58 percent to nearly 80 percent.

Rex applauds the improvement, but worries that next year's annual yearly progress results will worsen even if student test scores improve dramatically.

"The law's overall goals are so admirable," Rex said. "That, I would hate to see it fail."

Statewide, 52 percent of schools met the AYP standards. Schools not hitting their marks can face sanctions that may include requiring districts to pay for transporting students to other schools, requiring districts to pay for individual tutoring, and possibly firing school staff.

To view a county-by-county breakdown of the report, click here. To view the statewide report, or an individual school's ranking, click here.

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