Saturday, July 09, 2005

AYP might be changed to measure progress

Yes, folks, it seems that soon Adequate Yearly Progress might actually become a measure of, well, progress. Sounds radical, right? It is.

So far, the very controversial AYP has been a benchmark measure. In other words, if x% of students don't anser y% of questions correctly on the test, AYP was not met and sanctions can be applied (after two years). Every year or two the benchmarks go up. So, if you have a student 25 points below adequacy one year, and then next year they get within a few points of passing, they still count as a failure. Progress is not taken into consideration.

Yesterday, Secretary Spellings indicated she might be willing to change that:

Spellings, addressing a gathering of the American Federation of Teachers, gave her strongest indication yet that she may embrace a "growth model" -- that is, one that measures the academic growth of individual students as they move among grades.

Some states are experimenting with such an idea, but a federal policy on the topic could trigger a broad shift in how progress is measured nationwide. Spellings has appointed a group to study a growth model, and she told AFT members she is committed to working on it.

"We need to have an understanding of what we mean by that, and what the necessary conditions are," Spellings told reporters after her comments to the AFT. "And then, I'm hopeful that netting out of that conversation will be a way to allow people to get credit for the progress they've made. And I believe in that as a policy matter." [AP]

I've been very critical of Spellings in the past, so it's only fair that I praise her when she says something right. Of course, the devil is always in the details so we'll have to see how exactly this policy shift plays out -- if it plays out at all. But for now, I commend the Secretary for taking this step toward sanity in the implementation of NCLB.


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