August 23, 2007
Director of Communications
Public Information Officer
Achievement Increases on All Tests Required for Graduation
Seven out of ten of the commonwealth’s public schools met or exceeded increased No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) achievement objectives in reading and mathematics during the 2006-2007 school year, according to preliminary information released today by the Virginia Department of Education. Overall achievement in both subjects increased compared with the previous year.
Results from testing in 2006-2007 also showed that high school students increased their achievement on all Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in English reading, English writing, mathematics, history and science required for graduating with a Standard or Advanced Studies diploma. Achievement rose four points in Algebra I to 92 percent, three points in Geometry to 86 percent and three points in Algebra II to 88 percent. Students in the class of 2007 were the first required to pass end-of-course SOL tests in mathematics, history/social science and science to earn a Standard Diploma.
Middle school students also contributed to an overall four-point increase in mathematics achievement by making significant gains in performance on rigorous, grade-level mathematics assessments introduced during the 2005-2006 school year.
"Virginia teachers and educators rose to the occasion last year by helping students meet higher standards for learning and achievement," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Billy K. Cannaday Jr. "Their hard work is preparing children for the challenges to come as they continue their education and enter the workforce."
"These results illuminate the progress our schools have made and shine a light on the areas where the Board of Education must focus so all of our schools and students can make the journey from competence to excellence," said Board of Education President Mark E. Emblidge.Table 1. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for Virginia Public Schools
Did Not Make AYP
To Be Determined
Of the 1,823 open schools that earned Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) ratings based on student achievement in 2006-2007, at least 1,316, or 72 percent, met the federal education law’s requirements for AYP despite higher benchmarks for reading and mathematics. These schools included 12 Title I schools in the commonwealth that escaped federal sanctions by making AYP for a second consecutive year.
Of the 467 schools that did not make AYP during 2006-2007, 175 met all but one of the federal law’s 29 objectives for participation in statewide testing and achievement in reading and mathematics, and 108 met all but two AYP benchmarks. The AYP status of 36 schools remains to be determined.
The schools that made AYP based on achievement during 2006-2007 include 154 schools that did not make AYP during the previous year based on 2005-2006 tests. Of the schools that made AYP based on 2005-2006 achievement, 1,153 also made AYP based on tests administered during 2006-2007, while 240 did not.
Last year, 73 percent of Virginia’s schools were initially reported as having made AYP based on preliminary 2005-2006 data. Appeals and the submission of additional information eventually increased the percentage to 78 percent.
For a Virginia school or school division to have made AYP during 2006-2007, at least 73 percent of students overall and students in all subgroups (white, black, Hispanic, limited English, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged) must have demonstrated proficiency on statewide tests in reading, and 71 percent of students overall and in all subgroups must have demonstrated proficiency in mathematics. The AYP benchmarks for achievement in reading and mathematics were each four points higher than during the previous school year.
Virginia as a state met or exceeded all of the objectives for participation in statewide testing and achievement except in the reading performance of limited English proficient (LEP) students. The U.S. Department of Education (USED) this year rejected the commonwealth’s appeal of a directive requiring Virginia schools to administer grade-level reading tests to children at the lowest levels of English proficiency whose first language is not English. These students had been taking an alternate assessment that measures progress in developing English proficiency in reading, writing and speech. Previously, Virginia made AYP based on assessments administered during 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.
Fifty-Eight School Divisions Make AYP
Fifty-eight of Virginia’s 132 school divisions made AYP during 2006-2007, compared with 72 during the previous year. Of the 74 school divisions that did not make AYP, 25 met all but one of the 29 objectives for achievement and participation in testing.Table 2. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for Virginia School Divisions
Did Not Make AYP
To Be Determined
In 23 school divisions, all schools made AYP. These divisions include Alleghany County, Appomattox County, Bland County, Charlotte County, Falls Church, Galax, Goochland County, Highland County, Lee County, Lexington, Madison County, Mecklenburg County, Page County, Patrick County, Poquoson, Powhatan County, Rappahannock County, Salem, Scott County, Smyth County, Staunton, Surry County and West Point.
Eighteen of the above divisions also made AYP at the division level. These divisions are Alleghany County, Appomattox County, Charlotte County, Falls Church, Goochland County, Highland County, Lee County, Mecklenburg County, Page County, Patrick County, Poquoson, Powhatan County, Salem, Scott County, Smyth County, Staunton, Surry County and West Point.
Achievement in mathematics rebounded during 2006-2007 as students improved on their performance on grade-level tests first introduced during 2005-2006 in grades 4, 6 and 7. Overall, 80 percent of Virginia students tested last year in mathematics passed, compared with 76 percent in 2005-2006. Middle school students improved upon their performance on mathematics tests introduced during 2005-2006, and high school students increased achievement on all three end-of-course mathematics tests linked to the commonwealth’s diploma requirements.
- Sixth-grade students increased their achievement on mathematics tests by nine points to 60 percent, compared with 51 percent during 2005-2006.
- Seventh graders improved their performance by 11 points to 55 percent.
- The pass rate in Algebra I increased from 88 to 92 percent.
- Achievement in Geometry increased three points to 86 percent.
- Eighty-eight percent of students who took the Algebra II SOL test passed, compared with 85 percent in 2005-2006.
Overall mathematics achievement of African-American and Hispanic students increased with noteworthy gains on tests in Algebra and Geometry.
- Sixty-eight percent of black students passed assessments in mathematics compared with 62 percent during 2005-2006, and 70 percent of Hispanic students passed, compared with 66 percent.
- African-American students achieved a pass rate of 87 percent in Algebra I, a six-point increase over the previous year, and Hispanic students achieved a pass rate of 88 percent, a five-point increase.
- Black achievement in Geometry rose four points to 72 percent, and Hispanic achievement increased five points to 80 percent.
- Eighty-two percent of black students and Hispanic students who took the Algebra II test passed, an increase of five points for black students and four points for Hispanics.
Overall achievement in reading increased slightly with 85 percent of Virginia students passing SOL and other tests in reading during 2006-2007 compared with 84 percent during 2005-2006. African-American and Hispanic students made significant gains on the English SOL reading test required for graduation with a Standard or Advanced Studies diploma:
- Black students achieved a 76-percent overall pass rate in reading, compared with 73 percent during the previous year. African-American students achieved an 88-percent pass rate on the high school English reading SOL test, a five-point increase over the previous year.
- Hispanic students achieved a 90-percent pass rate on the high school reading test, a six-point increase over performance during 2005-2006. Overall, 72 percent of Hispanic students passed state reading tests, compared with 76 percent in 2005-2006 – a decrease largely attributable to changes in assessment practices for limited English proficient students dictated by USED.
Achievement on the grade-3 reading test decreased four points to 80 percent, a decline partly due to changes in testing practices for LEP students. Grade-5 reading achievement was unchanged at 87 percent. Reading achievement in grades 6, 7 and 8 increased by one point to 84 percent, 82 percent and 79 percent respectively,
Science achievement increased overall and in all student subgroups during 2006-2007. Eighty-eight percent of Virginia students passed tests in science, compared with 85 percent during 2005-2006.
- Black students achieved a 77-percent pass rate in 2006-2007, compared with 73 percent during 2005-2006. The percentage of Hispanic students demonstrating proficiency in science increased by four points to 78 percent.
- African-American students achieved a pass rate of 76 percent in Biology I, a seven-point increase over the previous year, and Hispanic students achieved a pass rate of 75 percent, a seven-point increase.
- Black achievement in Chemistry rose five points to 83 percent, and Hispanic achievement increased nine points to 80 percent.
- Seventy-two percent of African-American students passed in Earth Science, an increase of three points, and 74 percent of Hispanics passed, a five-point increase.
Science achievement factors into calculating AYP for elementary and middle schools that select achievement in science as an "other academic indicator." Science also is a factor for high schools that make AYP through the "safe harbor" provision of NCLB. A school, division or state makes AYP through safe harbor by reducing the failure rate in a subject area by 10 percent. Safe harbor may be invoked for all students or for students in one or more subgroups.
History/Social Science Achievement
Student achievement also increased on the four high school history/social science tests. Most students must pass at least one of these tests to earn a Standard Diploma and two to earn an Advanced Studies Diploma.
- Eighty-three percent passed the World Geography SOL test, compared with 77 percent in 2005-2006.
- Achievement on the Virginia and United States History SOL test increased one point to 93 percent.
- Eighty-nine percent passed the World History I SOL test, an increase of four points.
- Achievement on the World History II SOL test increased three points to 92 percent.
Twelve Title I Schools No Longer Sanctioned
Twelve Title I schools made AYP for a second consecutive year, and by doing so, exited school-improvement status. These schools include Bowling Green Primary in Caroline County; Acquinton Elementary and Cool Spring Primary in King William County; Heritage Elementary in Lynchburg; Nottoway Intermediate in Nottoway County; Page County High in Page County; Westhaven Elementary in Portsmouth; Miles Jones Elementary in Richmond; Fallon Park Elementary, Oakland Intermediate and Preston Park Primary in Roanoke; and Ellen W. Chambliss Elementary in Sussex County.
Title I schools receive funding under Title I of NCLB to provide educational services to low-income children and are the focus of most of the accountability provisions of the law. Under the law, Title I schools that do not make AYP in the same subject area for two or more consecutive years are identified for improvement. School-improvement sanctions increase in severity if a school fails to make AYP in the same subject area for additional consecutive years. A Title I school escapes federal sanctions by making AYP for two consecutive years.
Seventy-three percent, or 509, of the commonwealth’s 699 Title I schools made AYP based on achievement during 2006-2007. Of the 176 Title I schools that did not make AYP, 67 met all but one of the 29 AYP objectives. The AYP status of 14 Title I schools remains to be determined.
- Twenty-seven Title I schools entered or remained in "year one" of improvement based on achievement in 2006-2007 and must offer students the option of transferring to a higher-performing public school for the 2007-2008 school year.
- Fourteen Title I schools entered or remained in "year two" of improvement status, and in addition to offering transfers, must also provide supplemental educational services or tutoring free-of-charge to children who request these services.
- Fourteen Title I schools also entered or remained in "year three" of improvement status. These schools must offer transfers and tutoring, and take at least one of several corrective actions specified in the law to raise student achievement.
- Six Title I schools, Hoffman-Boston Elementary in Arlington County; Tappahannock Elementary in Essex County; McNair Elementary in Fairfax County; J.E.B. Stuart Elementary and Peabody Middle School in Petersburg; and Prince Edward Middle School in Prince Edward County entered "year four" of improvement status. School divisions must begin developing alternative governance plans for these schools while continuing to offer transfers and tutoring, and continuing to implement corrective action.
Two Richmond middle schools entered or remained in "year five" of school improvement. Elkhardt Middle in Richmond entered year five after not making AYP for a sixth consecutive year and Chandler Middle remained in year five after making AYP based on 2006-2007 assessments. These schools must take or continue implementing one of the following actions:
- Reopen as a charter school;
- Replace all or most of the school staff relevant to the school’s failure to make AYP;
- Turn the management of the school over to a private educational management company or another entity with a demonstrated record of success; or
- Any other major restructuring of school governance.
Vernon Johns Middle in Petersburg moved into "year six" of improvement after not making AYP for a seventh consecutive year. Vernon Johns Middle also must continue implementation of its alternative governance plan to increase achievement.
AYP ratings are based primarily on the achievement of students on statewide assessments in reading, mathematics and, in some cases, science. In Virginia, these assessments include SOL tests, substitute tests of equal or greater rigor such as Advanced Placement examinations, and other grade-level tests taken by students learning English and some students with disabilities. Virginia’s AYP objectives based on 2006-2007 achievement were among the highest in the nation because of the progress students have made since 1995 under the SOL program.
Schools, school divisions and states also must meet annual objectives for participation in testing and for attendance or science for elementary and middle schools, and graduation for high schools. Schools, school divisions and states that meet or exceed these objectives are considered to have satisfied the law’s definition of AYP toward the goal of 100 percent proficiency of all students in reading and mathematics by 2014.
Preliminary AYP ratings and student achievement data for all Virginia public schools and school divisions are available in the Virginia School Report Card section of the Virginia Department of Education website.