The Moffat County School District met 70 of 81 Annual Yearly Progress goals, which are mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. Below are the areas where the School District did not meet its goals:
• Elementary-level reading for Hispanics, English language learners, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities
• Elementary-level math for economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities
• High school-level reading for Hispanics and economically disadvantaged students
• High school-level math for Hispanics and economically disadvantaged students
• High school graduation rate of 59.5 percent for economically disadvantaged students
The Moffat County School District met fewer Annual Yearly Progress goals for the 2007-08 school year than it did the previous year.
Superintendent Pete Bergmann said he and other officials expected the results.
The district's latest Colorado Student Assessment Program test scores "didn't show the same amount of growth as we've had, but they were still higher than they were five years ago," Bergmann said. "Because the targets changed, because of the increase in requirements, we weren't surprised to see the drop."
However, the district will continue improvement plans to better staff and student achievement, Bergmann added.
The School District did not meet its AYP goals either last year or for two years ago. It achieved 77 of 78 AYP goals for the 2006-07 school year. For last year, the district achieved 70 of 81 goals.
Most AYP goals are requirements for a certain percentage of students to test proficient in different subjects. Other goals include a 59.5 percent graduation rate for high school students.
Each goal is tied to a specific group of students, as well, such as non-native speakers, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.
Moffat County's report mirrors school districts across the state. Whereas 75 percent of schools met AYP goals two years ago, 60 percent met them last year.
A Colorado Department of Education news release attributes the decline to increasing proficiency requirements and a change in program rules.
Rules have changed
AYP is part of the No Child Left Behind Act, which set a goal to have every student in the U.S. public school system be proficient in reading and math by 2014.
To promote that, the required percentage of students who test as proficient increases every three years. Such an increase occurred between the 2006-07 school year and 2007-08.
Thus, the same test scores that would have met AYP goals two years ago did not meet the enhanced goals last year.
The high school-level performance target for math proficiency jumped from about 62 percent to 73 percent between the two years. High school proficiency in reading changed from 85 percent to 90 percent.
Moffat County High School had two student groups not meet those requirements this year, although students had met all math requirements two years ago.
The U.S. Department of Education also instituted a new policy last year that schools could not exclude non-English speakers from reading proficiency requirements. Previously, students who had been in the country less than three years could be taken off reading test results.
Proficiency requirements for students with disabilities also were increased to match requirements for students without disabilities, although disabled students may take a different test.
Two schools in Moffat County did not meet their AYP goals: Craig Intermediate School and the high school.
Although the high school met math and reading proficiency requirements two years ago, it did not last year.
Craig Intermediate met its reading requirements two years ago, but did not repeat last year. It did not meet math requirements in either case.
Bergmann said the public should understand that AYP is a moving target, and results will fluctuate from year to year because of program changes.
"Regardless of the targets set : we have a solid school improvement plan year over year over year to address student achievement," he said. "It's a concentration on staff development."
There is a district-wide initiative to focus on two areas: writing and differentiated instruction.
Differentiated instruction, Bergmann said, is a teaching method that reaches out to each student in a classroom for his or her individual needs.
"You've got all these kids, 25 kids from different groups, how are you going to teach them?" Bergmann said of refining teaching methods.
There also are specific progress goals for English Language Learner classes and for students with disabilities, he added.
There are results, too.
"Scores show we are closing the achievement gaps between (student) groups," Assistant Superintendent Christine Villard said.
For this year, Bergmann said he did not lament the district's AYP status as much as he did the slowdown in student progress.
"We are disappointed we did not show as much growth as in years past," Bergmann said.
When a school district does not meet AYP requirements two years in a row, No Child Left Behind puts the district in a two-year program improvement plan.
Program improvement districts must focus 10 percent of their Title 1 federal funding in the areas where it did not meet goals.
Moffat County School District was in its first year of program improvement for the 2007-08 school year.
Alyssa Pearson, a principle consultant for the Department of Education, said Moffat County will not be penalized for its AYP results, but will move on to its second year of program improvement. This year, it will have expand its focus areas to address AYP goals not met last year.
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org