In June 2012, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) granted Virginia waivers from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
Virginia, under No Child Left Behind Act flexibility waivers granted by USED, established annual measurable objectives (AMOs) in reading and mathematics for reducing proficiency gaps between students in the commonwealth’s lowest-performing and highest-performing schools. These objectives replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets schools were previously required to meet under the federal education law.
The AMOs represent the percentage of students within each subgroup in the lowest-performing schools that must pass Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in reading and mathematics in order to reduce – by half – the gaps separating these students from their peers in the highest-performing schools within six years. The federal accountability determination starting points were based on the 2010-2011 reading assessments and the 2011-2012 mathematics assessments.
Revised AMOs culminate with all students and student subgroups achieving pass rates of at least 78 percent in reading and 73 percent by 2016-2017. The methodology sets ambitious but achievable goals that require greater rates of annual progress for subgroups that are further behind.
- Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) (PDF)
- AMO Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) – Revised January 2013
- Accountability & Virginia Public Schools (PDF)
VDOE also will report on low-performing schools identified as “priority” and “focus” schools and recognize high-performing Title I schools as “reward” schools.
Priority schools are identified based on overall student performance in reading and mathematics, including graduation rates in the case of high schools. Five percent of Virginia’s Title I schools are identified as priority schools. The following lists are available:
Focus schools are identified based on the reading and mathematics performance of students in three “proficiency gap groups” comprising students who historically have had difficulty meeting the state’s achievement standards:
- Proficiency Gap Group 1 – Students with disabilities, English language learners and economically disadvantaged students, regardless of race and ethnicity
- Proficiency Gap Group 2 – African-American students, not of Hispanic origin, including those also counted in Proficiency Gap Group 1
- Proficiency Gap Group 3 – Hispanic students, of one or more races, including those also counted in Proficiency Gap Group 1
The following lists are available:
Ten percent of Virginia’s Title I schools are identified as focus schools.
VDOE also recognizes improving and high achieving Title I schools and divisions if they earn one of the following state or federal programs:
- Virginia Index of Performance
- National Blue Ribbon School
- News Release, September 24, 2013 – Ten Virginia Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Honors
- News Release, September 7, 2012 – Nine Virginia Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Honors
- Title I Distinguished School
- News Release, January 17, 2013 – Title I Schools Recognized for High Achievement
As required by the U.S. Department of Education, Virginia’s ESEA flexibility application highlights the state’s efforts in three key educational reform areas:
- Virginia’s College & Career Readiness Initiative – VDOE has adopted and implemented revised content standards that establish college- and career-ready expectations in reading and mathematics. New and more rigorous assessments are being implemented to measure student achievement on these challenging standards.
- Virginia’s Accountability System (PDF) – Under the provisions of the two-year flexibility waiver the Board of Education has set new annual measurable objectives (AMOs) for raising achievement in the commonwealth’s lowest-performing schools.
- Virginia’s Teacher & Principal Evaluation System – Under ESEA flexibility, school divisions must implement the performance and evaluation standards for teachers and principals approved last year by the Board of Education. The standards require that 40 percent of a teacher’s or principal’s evaluation be based on student academic progress.
- School Choice and SES – The flexibility waived certain requirements to include offering public school choice in Title I schools identified for improvement and offering Supplemental Educational Services in Title I schools in Year 2 or beyond of school improvement.
- School Report Cards – Report cards include a prominent "dashboard" showing the progress of all students, proficiency gap groups, and each individual subgroup toward closing proficiency gaps in reading, mathematics, and graduation rates.
- School Improvement & Reform – VDOE has developed a nationally-recognized comprehensive support system that focuses on building division-level capacity to support schools in need of interventions.
Communication from Superintendent of Public Instruction, Patricia I. Wright, on topics related to ESEA Flexibility. Communications include essential information related to the implementation of ESEA Flexibility provisions.