Field 9: Negotiated
Achievement Targets or Adequate Yearly Progress
What You Are Looking At The first two bars in each of the four tests represent the schools actual level of proficiency against the schools target for increased proficiency in three years. The second two bars represent the actual percentage of students achieving at the lowest levels of non-proficiency against the schools target for decreasing the percentage of these students in three years. What You Are Looking For Until there is enough achievement data to show a trend (see below for explanation), the only thing to look for is the level of challenge a school has set for itself. Defining Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) AYP is the measure of the progress a school or a district is making towards moving all children to meet the Regents standard of proficiency.
Rhode Islands educational policies proceed from a commitment that all students will reach high standards in essential areas. According to this criterion, state assessment results demonstrate that every school in Rhode Island needs improvement. No school has every student reaching every standard. Consequently, all schools need to focus their efforts on improving teaching and learning. Setting achievement targets is a way of tracking a schools focus and efforts. In time, targets will show parents and the community how to assess the success of a schools improvement efforts.Creating the First Data Points for Achievement Trends We are fortunate to be able to study other states experience with setting progress targets and handling rewards and sanctions that go with them. Perhaps the first lesson is that a single year of data can woefully misrepresent the movement a school is making towards 100% proficiency. A particularly exemplary or challenged class can skew the results and either inflate or deflate the real achievements of the school as a whole. Therefore, for most tests the 1998 achievement data is only the first of the three years that will be counted towards a three-year rolling average. Three years of achievement data averaged together will create a point, a specific level of achievement that can be followed each year henceforth with three-year averaged points that will show trend lines, or the progress schools are making towards achieving higher proficiency rates among their students. At that point the trend lines can be measured against the targets schools have set for themselves. Setting Negotiated Targets A second, very important lesson from national experiences is that other states have set standardized progress targets for all schools at, say, 2% or 3%, without taking into account either the schools challenges nor the adequacy of resources to meet the challenges. Other states have found themselves accidently setting their schools up for failure by establishing unrealistic and undeliverable goals.
For this reason, RIDE issued guidelines to the schools to set their own targets for improved student performance on state assessments in mathematics, English-language arts and writing. These targets were then to be negotiated with the state via the RIDE Field Service system by November 1998. Because the target-setting exercise was new to everyone this year, not all targets were actually set by the school and negotiated with the state. Indeed, some targets were set by the districts for across-the-board application to the individual schools. Other targets were set outside the guidelines of 3 to 5% per year for a three year accumulated gain of 9 to 15%. Information Works! reports these targets because target-setting is an important part of the accountability agenda, but as these first targets are truly negotiated over the course of this year, some may change.Two Kinds of Targets Target 1: Increasing the Percentage of Students at or Above Standard Schools were asked to consider the proportion of their students who are currently proficient in the selected test areas and commit to increasing that proportion within the guidelines of 3 to 5% a year. That number was multiplied by three to obtain a three-year target for the year 2001, a number that should fall within 9 to 15%. Again, the three-year target-setting exercise will give schools a chance to accommodate the especially high or low-performing individual class. Target 2: Reducing the Percentage of Students at the Lowest Performance Level Schools used the same 3 to 5% guidelines to set targets to reduce the proportion of their lowest achieving students. Some schools have a large number of students performing at the lowest level, or Little Evidence of Achievement. Those schools merely applied the guide numbers to that group. If there were less than 10% at this level, the school added the percentage of students at the next lowest level, or Below the Standard. Those schools applied the guide numbers to the combined lowest two achievement levels. In rare cases, schools had less than 10% of their student population in the two lowest categories combined. Some of these schools used all three groups of students performing below the standard to set a target, and in these few cases the two target numbers are merely inverses of one another. The Chart of the Future When the three years are over and we have data points for the averaged actual achievement, the chart will change to a trend chart that show achievement against the negotiated targets. These two lines will illustrate whether or not the schools are actually hitting their targets using the three-year rolling averages. Ultimately the charts will be able to show the progress that schools, and the state, are making towards the goal of all children achieving 100% proficiency. Progressive Support and Intervention After three years, the data will begin to show research-based evidence as to whether schools are making adequate yearly progress. In the event they have not, they will be subject to a process of progressive support and intervention. The policy for this process has been drafted, but not finalized. However, the state does not intend to wait a full three years to begin to support and intervene in schools which are already known to be under-performing or dramatically under-resourced, on the basis of other information. RIDE has either begun to engage with these schools already or will soon.