Higher proficiency targets required to meet the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act resulted in fewer Michigan schools making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year, according to the Michigan Department of Education — including all of the Walled Lake, Waterford and Huron Valley high schools.
Under NCLB, states are required to establish annual English language arts and mathematics proficiency targets. Those targets must reach 100 percent by the 2013-14 school year. During the past school year, the percentage of students needing to be proficient on state assessments was raised by an average of 10 percent, in order to be on trajectory to the NCLB target of 100 percent proficiency by the 2013-14 school year.
The number of high schools meeting AYP declined from 81.9 percent in 2009-10 to 60 percent this year.
To make AYP, a school must test 95 percent of its students in total and in each required student demographic group defined by the federal law. The school also must attain the target achievement goal in English language arts and mathematics, or reduce the percentage of students in the non-proficient category of achievement by 10 percent (“safe harbor”). In addition, the school must meet or exceed the other academic indicators set by the state.
If even one subgroup of students in a school fails to meet AYP standards, the entire school fails to achieve AYP for the year.
High school students’ scores on the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) are used to determine whether the school meets AYP standards.
Here’s a look at the west Oakland high schools that didn’t achieve AYP this year, and why. West Bloomfield High School achieved AYP standards this year.
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
Walled Lake Central’s students passed in all the requirements of attendance/graduation; participation in the English language arts; achievement in English language arts; participation in math; and achievement in math except for those in one subgroup — students with disabilities didn’t meet the AYP standards for achievement in math.
Meanwhile, Walled Lake Western students didn’t meet overall AYP standards for a similar reason. While they met all other requirements, one subgroup — students with disabilities — didn’t meet the AYP standards for achievement in English language arts.
Walled Lake Northern also failed to achieve AYP. While all other subgroups met the requirements in all other categories, one subgroup classified as economically disadvantaged students failed to meet AYP standards for math. Although the group met the standard for achievement in math, it didn’t have enough participation in the testing group to qualify as meeting AYP requirements for the year.
Waterford Kettering and Waterford Mott High School both failed to make the grade when it comes to AYP.
According to the state’s report card, Waterford Kettering didn’t make progress on the state’s reading and math assessments when it came to students with disabilities. Meanwhile, Waterford Mott didn’t make progress in state reading assessments taken by black and Hispanic students, or in math assessments taken by black and disabled students.
“People reading these reports need to understand AYP,” said Rhonda Lessel, the Waterford district’s school and community services specialist. “If a subgroup doesn’t make it, the entire school fails. We need to make sure that they achieve. There are interventions in place and data that we look at.”
Last month, the Waterford School District saw a majority of its students meet or exceed MME proficiency levels in three of five subjects.
Waterford students’ best subject was social studies, with 653 students meeting or exceeding standards and 175 falling short. In reading, 498 students met or exceeded standards, while 329 did not. In science, 479 students met or exceeded standards, while 345 did not.
However, in math testing, 326 students met or exceeded standards, while 496 fell short. In writing, 357 students met or exceeded standards while 469 did not.
Mott also received a composite “C” grade while Kettering received a “B” grade on the state’s report card.
Huron Valley Schools
Each of the high schools in the Huron Valley School District failed to meet AYP benchmarks, according to the state report card.
Students with disabilities at both Milford and Lakeland high schools were unable to meet achievement standards, with Milford falling short in English language arts, and Lakeland missing the mark in math.
“On a bigger scale AYP is a federal mandate under No Child Left Behind and we embrace the idea of using data to improve student achievement, but what’s challenging is using it for at-risk students — the whole buildings are being held hostage,” said Huron Valley Director of Community Relations and Fund Development Janet Roberts.
Given the scores, there is a dichotomy of Lakeland making the grade as a top high school in the U.S., but missing the AYP mark.
“We will be giving additional remediation to sub-populations, whether that be for illiteracy or intervention with math,” Roberts said.
Staff will be analyzing low achievement scores and develop a support system in order to bolster test scores.
As for Harbor High School, progress wasn’t met in attendance/graduation among all students.
Harbor High School is an alternative high school for students who aren’t achieving in a traditional school setting.
“These are kids who struggle with attendance, family, special needs and other physical or mental challenges,” Roberts said. “Some districts are getting rid of alternative high schools because of AYP, but not us. We want kids to be successful and have made the commitment to provide that kind of environment. We’ll take the hit in AYP to provide that.”
Despite low AYP scores at Harbor High School, the district has realized small strides of success at the alternative high school.
“We had the highest graduation class this year at Harbor High and in our adult education program, so to us that is success,” Roberts said.
To mitigate the failure to meet AYP standards at Harbor High School, the district will be providing additional support and measuring data via an achievement analysis.
“We can always do better — our goal is to make kids successful,” Roberts said.