Under the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) U.S. public schools and school districts must make adequate yearly progress (AYP) as determined by the percentage of the schools’ or districts’ students that score proficient on state-specified tests and other performance indicators. Various interventions are imposed on schools and districts that repeatedly fail to make AYP. The NCLB goal is that all students will score proficient on tests in specified academic courses by 2014.
According to an April 28, 2011 report by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), 38% of U.S. public schools failed to make AYP in 2010. The percentage is five points above the 2009 rate, making it the largest one-year increase since AYP data became available in 2006. The CEP report states that, overall, the national percentage of schools failing to make AYP changed modestly from year-to-year, going from 29% in 2006 and increasing to 38% by 2010.
Data included in the CEP report reflects that the 2010 AYP failure rate by individual states varied widely, with 91% in the District of Columbia, 86% in Florida, 61% in California, 28% in Connecticut, and 5% in Texas as examples. According to the report, at least half of the public schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia did not make AYP. In March U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan predicted that over 80% of U.S. schools will fail to meet AYP in 2011; however, an April 28th Education Week article online quoted a CEP executive as stating that such a large increase seems “very unlikely.”
The CEP is an independent nonprofit organization that has monitored national AYP data over the past five years. Copies of the April 28th CEP report and its companion background paper can be downloaded from the CEP website http://www.cep-dc.org/.