Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Definition & Status

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Before the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) set accountability standards for schools. In this lesson, we will examine Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, as required by No Child Left Behind.

Definition of AYP

School accountability is a hot topic for politicians. What exactly has the federal government done to hold schools accountable? The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was a bipartisan education reform bill that was enacted by Congress and signed into law by former President George W. Bush. Under NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) , a measure of growth that is determined by each state, was required for schools that receive Title I Funds. No Child Left Behind has now been replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), therefore on August 1, 2016, the regulations that required states to monitor schools and districts by AYP expired. Instead, each state has more authority to set their own proficiency goals to address graduation rates, English Language Learners, literacy, mathematical proficiency, student growth, and school quality. Let's take a closer look at AYP.

What Constitutes Growth?

While each state is ultimately responsible for determining growth measures, the federal government provided some guidelines about how AYP should be determined. First of all, it focused on one high-stakes end of the year test as the primary source of information. Other measures, such as drop-out rates, attendance rates, and retention rates could also be considered to a lesser degree.

The expectation was that each year, economically disadvantaged students and English Language Learners in particular, would make substantial growth until all students scored satisfactorily on the annual test. To make sure these students were adequately served, schools were not only required to assess 95% of all students, but 95% of students in each subgroup (ELL, economically disadvantaged, special education, ethnic and racial groups) also had to be tested in reading and math.

What Types of Assessments Were Used?

As states developed their assessment system, they had three options:

  • A uniform assessment would define one test and a particular set of criteria for determining AYP.
  • States could choose to use a combination of state and local assessments. For example, grades 3, 5, 8, Algebra I, and English I might take a state-mandated test, while grades 4, 6, 7, English I, Algebra II, and Biology would take district-selected tests. In this scenario, the state may choose to weight the tests. Another example of using mixed assessments is for the state to provide a standard assessment, but give local districts the option of developing their own assessments under specific guidelines.
  • States could also choose to allow all districts to develop their own assessments as long as they set criteria and maintain a watchful eye to ensure that all districts will maintain high standards and that assessments are aligned with the state's standards and objectives.

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