• Adequate Yearly Progress

    August 16th, 2011

    State education officials recently released information about which Missouri schools made adequate yearly progress (AYP) last year, based largely on state tests called the MAP. The AYP results are part of a federal law called No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This year’s AYP list is based on spring 2011 test scores from Missouri’s MAP tests in math and communication arts, as well as attendance and/or graduation rates.

    You may read in news reports that West Plains Schools did not make AYP. This does not mean these schools are unsuccessful – in fact they may have very strong overall test scores. This will likely cause some parents and other residents to be confused.

    The purpose of this document is to help you understand AYP, and ask you to share the information with others.



    Under NCLB, all of America’s public schools are being held explicitly accountable for the performance of all groups of students, not just for the average performance of their student population.

    For example, schools must now demonstrate that certain achievement levels are being met each year for Hispanic students, African American students, students with individualized education programs, students receiving free/reduced lunches, students with limited English proficiency and other subgroups. If the test scores of a single subgroup do not meet the required achievement level established by the state and federal government, that school will fail to make AYP. Therefore, a school with a more diverse population will have many student subgroups taking the tests, and thus will have a greater chance of not making AYP than schools with less student subgroups.

    It is also important to note that Missouri’s testing standards are among the most rigorous in the country, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education.



    Many schools labeled by the state as “needing improvement” may actually be performing at a high level or making continuous improvement, but not achieving AYP with one or two subgroups of students. To get a complete picture of how a school is doing, one must consider a wide range of indicators, not just a snapshot of MAP subgroup scores. Some examples include scores on Stanford, ACT, SAT, and PLAN tests, as well as attendance rates, dropout rates, graduation rates and so on.

    Many of these indicators are factored into each school district’s Annual Performance Review (APR), which offers a more comprehensive analysis of how our schools are doing.


    Essentially, it’s a federal government program that is one of many tools helping us understand how well our schools are doing, and assisting our overall school improvement efforts. It acknowledges that all students should succeed in school, not just certain groups.


    Any school that is receiving certain federal funding and fails to achieve AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject area is identified under the law as “in need of improvement” and is subject to certain penalties.

    Initially, a school labeled as needing improvement must offer its students the opportunity to transfer to another school within the district. After a third year, schools must offer supplemental services (such as tutoring) for students. Schools that do not show significant improvement in the test scores of all subgroups after four years may be forced to take corrective action such as replacing school personnel or extending the school year.

    Ultimately, by 2014, the law requires that all students in all subgroups (100 percent) score at the defined “proficiency” level in order to achieve AYP. As AYP targets are progressively higher each year, it is becoming more difficult and challenging for school districts across the country to make AYP for all students. For example, only 92 of 561 districts in the state made AYP, 469 districts did not. 


    Yes. We want every student to be successful in school. We realize that while the vast majority of West Plains Schools’ students are successful and performing at high levels, there are some students whose test scores aren’t improving as much as we would like. We are aware of this and continue to work with our community to ensure all students are successful on high-stakes state testing. We have made progress, but still have work to do in reaching every student successfully. That is our goal.


    West Plains Schools has helped set the standard for academic excellence in Missouri. We will continue to make progress toward meeting the needs of all children, but recognize that most children in the West Plains School District are achieving at levels above state averages and we should be proud of our school district and its accomplishments. For example:

    • West Plains Schools’ AYP Communications Arts Average is 57.6%, 3% above state average.
    • West Plains Schools’ AYP Math Average is 60.9%, 6.7% above state average.
    • The West Plains School District is 98% proficient in Algebra II which is at the top of all state scores.
    • For the 6th time and 5th consecutive year it appears West Plains Schools has met all 14 standards in the Distinction in Performance.
    • The 2011 Student Growth Pilot Project met all 14 indicators on the Value Added APR and received a bonus point for overall proficiency.



    Visit Understanding Your AYP Report at the state education department’s website, read NCLB information for parents by the U.S. Department of Education or contact the Parkway Communications Department at (314) 415-8077.