Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - News, Features, Opinions...


Education Department Releases Statewide School Performance Status
Preliminary "AYP List" Points Out Strengths and Weaknesses of Each School


August 13, 2005

Alaska Education Commissioner Roger Sampson on Friday released a preliminary list of schools that did not meet all the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the most sweeping school reform legislation in our nation's history.

This year, statewide 292 schools made AYP targets and 203 did not make AYP out of a total of 495 schools. Last year 290 schools met AYP out of 497 schools; 207 schools did not make AYP.

Based on 2004-2005 data, of the ten schools in Ketchikan, seven met Adequate Yearly Progress according to the state's preliminary list . They are the Ketchikan Charter School, Ketchikan High School, Ketchikan Regional Youth Facility, Point Higgins School, Schoenbar Middle School, Tongass School of Arts & Sciences, and White Cliff Elementary.

Ketchikan schools included on the state's preliminary list of schools not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress are Houghtaling Elementary School, Ketchikan Correspondence School and Revilla Jr/Sr High School.

In percentages, in Ketchikan this year 70% of the schools made AYP and 30% did not.

In percentages, statewide this year 59% of schools made AYP and 41% did not make AYP. Last year 58% of schools made AYP and 42% did not make AYP. In 2003, the first year the department released the AYP lists, 42% of schools made AYP and 58% did not make AYP.

Sampson cautioned that the preliminary AYP list reveals only part of the story about schools. He urged Alaskans to examine local school results closely to discover the strengths of their schools and to pinpoint where progress needs to be made. "There are many excellent schools in Alaska, some of which did not meet every AYP target," said Sampson. "In fact, many schools made substantial improvements in student achievement over the past two years, but did not meet AYP yet. Nevertheless, the progress these schools have made is remarkable."

The preliminary AYP list gives the Alaska public important information about the performance of public schools. The information is based on how students scored on state examinations in language arts and math in grades three through nine and, for tenth graders, on the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam. It also reflects whether schools met minimum standards on school attendance rates and high school dropout rates.

NCLB, passed by Congress in January 2002, requires schools to meet AYP with groups of students or be designated as needing improvement. Groups of students include: students with limited English proficiency; students with disabilities; economically disadvantaged students; African-Americans; Alaska Natives; American Indians; Asians; Hispanics; and Caucasians. There are a number of targets a school must meet:

  • 71.48% of students schoolwide and nine ethnic and socio-economic groups must achieve a score of proficient in language arts on statewide tests.
  • 57.61% of the same groups of students must achieve proficiency on statewide math tests.
  • The test scores used for determining AYP are the Alaska Standards Based Assessments for grades 3 through 9 and the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam at grades 10.
  • 95% of a school's student body, and each group of students, need to take the assessments in order to meet the AYP target.
  • 85% attendance rate, or, if a school includes 12th grade, a 55.58% cohort graduation rate.

There are up to 31 targets that a school must reach or the school does not make AYP. A school can be on the list by not making AYP with as few as one group of students on one test or by not making AYP with all categories of students on both tests. This means NCLB does not allow schools to hide the performance of a single group of students in a school's average performance. The AYP targets are so rigorous that if all students in a school score proficient on tests, a school will not make AYP if 95% of the students in a school are not tested.

Schools on the list for the first time are called Level 1 schools; for the second year, Level 2; for the third, Level 3; for the fourth, Level 4, for the fifth, Level 5. If a school is at level 5 one year and does not meet again the next year they are at level 5 two consecutive years.

Once a school has reached Level 2, the school must meet AYP targets for two consecutive years in order to be removed from the list. This year Alaska has 42 schools that are Level 2 or higher that met AYP this year. Alaska has two schools that were Level 2 or higher last year, but met for the second consecutive time this year and therefore are removed from the list.

Targets, called Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) by NCLB, increase over time. Alaska created new assessments in grades 3 through 9 this year to improve instructional feedback on student performance for students and schools, and to meet the requirements of NCLB. Because of the new assessments Alaska, with U.S. Department of Education approval, established a new AMO baseline this year, reflected in the AMO chart below.

gif amo

In 2013-2014, 100% of students in every group and schoolwide must achieve proficiency on state tests.

Schools can meet AYP and not be at the target through the improvement provision of NCLB, often referred to as "safe harbor." To meet AYP using safe harbor a school must reduce by 10% the number of students scoring not proficient on exams from the previous year. This is significant because these schools, while not meeting the target, are demonstrating improvement. Forty-five Alaska schools met AYP using safe harbor this year.
Sampson urged Alaskans to exercise caution when examining the AYP list. "It is very difficult for a school to make AYP. There's one way to make AYP and 31 ways of not making it. In fact, 69 schools met AYP targets in all categories, and missed AYP in only one category." In addition, almost half of all schools that missed AYP missed in two or fewer of the 31 categories. Sampson asked the news media to be cautious and accurate when referring to the preliminary AYP list.

Sampson said NCLB is important for further pinpointing achievement gaps between groups of students. By requiring groups of students to make AYP, NCLB does not allow a school's average test scores to mask problem areas.

Different consequences apply to schools that receive federal Title I funding from those that do not receive Title I funding. However, all Level 1 schools need to inform parents about their AYP status, and develop and implement a plan for improvement.

If a Title I school does not make AYP for two consecutive years, the school enters Title I school improvement status. In that case, parents will be given a choice, if practical, for their child to attend a different school in their district that is not at Level 2 or higher, or the school must offer supplemental services to students.

Consequences are more comprehensive for Level 3 and higher schools.

The State Department of Education & Early Development on Friday posted the preliminary AYP list on the web, as well as other information helpful in interpreting the information.


On the Web:

pdf List of schools meeting AYP

pdf List of schools not meeting AYP

pdf 2005 AYP School Level Results Part 1 - PDF

pdf 2005 AYP School Level Results Part 2 - PDF

pdf 2005 AYP School Level Results Part 3 - PDF

pdf 2005 AYP School Level Results Part 4 - PDF

pdf 2005 AYP School Level Results Part 5 - PDF

pdf Sample AYP School Report - Small School - PDF

pdf Sample AYP School Report - Large School - PDF

pdf The ABC's of AYP - PDF (509 KB)

pdf Consequences of not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress



Alaska Department of Education


E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska