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NEWS RELEASES 2005-06

NEWS RELEASES 2005-06 :: MAY 17, 2006

NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOLS CHOSEN TO PILOT
FEDERAL GROWTH MODEL

North Carolina is one of only two states approved today by the U.S. Department of Education to use a growth component in its measurement of public schools' adequate yearly progress (AYP) required under federal education law. Tennessee also received approval.

North Carolina's approval is contingent on federal approval of the state's North Carolina Checklist of Academic Standards (NCCLAS) as a part of its statewide assessment system. NCCLAS is an alternate assessment provided to some students with disabilities who are not able to access the standard end-of-grade or end-of-course assessments even with approved accommodations and to some students with limited English proficiency within their first two years in United States' schools. State testing officials are providing additional information to the federal education department about this assessment and are confident that NCCLAS will receive approval. NCCLAS is provided as an alternative to less than 2 percent of North Carolina's public school students.

For the state's schools, approval of the growth model pilot provides an opportunity to focus on student growth over time, a hallmark of North Carolina's own ABCs of Public Education accountability model. For North Carolina, this decision reflects the federal agency's confidence in the state's ability to manage the complexities of NCLB requirements and to track student growth toward proficiency. Only states considered to be in compliance with all aspects of the federal law — including Highly Qualified teacher requirements — were provided with the opportunity to pilot the growth model.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said she was pleased with the decision.

"North Carolina education leaders have petitioned for growth to count in the No Child Left Behind model since in was adopted into law," Atkinson said. "We thank U.S. Education Secretary (Margaret) Spellings for granting us this additional flexibility. We believe it is the right thing to do for schools and for students."

Under the pilot, students who are on a growth trajectory to be proficient within a four-year period of time would be added to the number proficient for the school. In order to meet the demands for the federal and state accountability models, the Department of Public Instruction will run two different growth calculations for these students, one for the ABCs and another for AYP.

If the growth component had been in place last year, 2004-05, approximately 40 additional schools would have made AYP.

No Child Left Behind is the federal education law approved in 2002. At the core of the law are measures designed to close achievement gaps between different groups of students. Each academic year, schools are expected to make adequate yearly progress toward achieving grade level performance for each student group in reading and mathematics. Title I schools that do not make AYP for two years in a row in the same subject face sanctions that become more severe with each additional year that the school does not make AYP in that subject area.

The AYP growth model pilot is an example of the additional flexibility that has been granted recently under NCLB. Currently, states can use safe harbor criteria and statistical confidence intervals as safeguards to help ensure that schools are not unfairly labeled.

For more information about AYP in North Carolina, please go to www.ncpublicschools.org/nclb/faqs/ayp or contact the NC DPI Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communications and Information, 919.807.3450.