AYP, API, And Horse Pucky

In a stack of papers called Testing.

  • Oct
  • 05
  • 2006

Two observations from this past Wednesday’s inservice. We spent the time talking about and looking at some test data, specifically with regard to our AYP. We did not make our AYP. Adequate Yearly Progress, that sounds like a horrible thing to miss. These two observations are about why we missed that AYP and they are both incredibly ridiculous, pointing so clearly to the reason that NCLB is a monster out of control.

92 Vs. 95

We only had participation from 92% of our Hispanic population. We needed 95%. That’s the only reason we failed to meet our AYP. Not scores, not results, not improvement.

Due to that, how does my school end up looking? The general public doesn’t know enough about AYP to know the reason my school ended up missing the target; they just know we missed. The fact that we missed for a silly reason with no relation to the quality of our classroom instruction is lost on just about everyone outside of the school system.

Thanks, NCLB. You’re doing a great job of “holding schools accountable.” By judging the percentage of participation in a test that makes absolutely no difference to our students, not even acknowledging schools who meet every other requirement, and failing to recognize those schools who only narrowly miss some random percentage set somewhere in a back office, we’re sure to raise the performance of our kids and our public education system. Nice job!

ELD 1 Juniors

One of our ELD teachers stood up during the meeting to let folks know the following interesting bit: if a junior is in ELD 1, he takes the English 3 test in STAR. Let me rephrase that in the form of a scenario.

Mortimer is originally from Paraguay. His family has relocated to the US and Mortimer is now enrolled in the local high school. Oh, Mortimer is 16 and so, therefore, a junior in the local high school. English was never spoken much around the house back in Paraguay, though Mortimer does have a vague understanding of the language. ELD 1 looked like the best placement for Mortimer and he’s learning a lot in that class. The teacher is effective and Mortimer’s skills grow at an alarming rate. Still, he’s nowhere near proficient in the language.

Well, like it or not, come April when the Easter Bunny brings his pal STARy the Test Monster along, Mortimer will take the English 3 test. Even though he’s never been exposed to English 3 curriculum, he will be judged on his ability to show mastery of those standards. It’s no one’s surprise when Mortimer’s STAR scores come in at “below basic.”

Luckily, none of this impacts Mortimer much because he’ll see his scores in the mail but likely won’t understand much of what the scores mean at first glance. He probably won’t even take a second glance. Why should he?

However, the school will certainly suffer. And for the same reason that Special Education parents/students are arguing that they be excused from the CAHSEE: the students cannot be tested on standards they were never exposed to.


Let’s get it straight and call it by its real name. NCLB is just some title drummed up by a public relations firm, designed to get people to agree. It’s really called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and it’s out of control. Not only is it under funded, but it’s hugely misguided. Though some original ideas may have been good, its current manifestation represents everything bad about public education. Yes, I mean it.

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