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For Immediate Release
August 16, 2005
Contact: Charles Pyle
Director of Communications
(804) 371-2420
Julie Grimes
Public Information Officer
(804) 225-2775

Eighty Percent of Virginia Schools Meet
Higher No Child Left Behind Objectives
More Schools Make AYP During 2004-2005 as
Minority Students Increase Achievement

Eighty percent of Virginia’s public schools met or exceeded No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) achievement objectives during the 2004-2005 school year, according to preliminary information released today by the Virginia Department of Education. Of the 1,821 schools that earned Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) ratings during 2004-2005, 1,460, or 80 percent, met the federal education law’s requirements for increased student achievement, compared with 74 percent during the previous year. Virginia’s objectives for achievement in reading and writing during 2004-2005 were four points higher than in 2003-2004.

“Every year we ask more of our teachers, administrators, and students and every year they deliver,” said Governor Mark R. Warner. “Their efforts, supported by parents, innovative new programs, and additional state support are raising achievement in schools that once struggled.”

Virginia made AYP as a state for the first time by meeting or exceeding all of the objectives for participation in statewide testing and increased achievement. During 2003-2004, the commonwealth met or exceeded 28 of the 29 objectives.

“Virginia’s success in meeting the objectives of No Child Left Behind reflects the progress our schools and students have made since the adoption of the Standards of Learning,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary. “We are now in the tenth year of this journey and AYP is another measure of how far we’ve traveled, and of the commitment of our teachers and instructional leaders to raising the achievement of all students.”

“We raised the bar this year and we still have more schools making AYP,” said Board of Education President Thomas M. Jackson, Jr. “This is further proof that Virginia’s system of fair and flexible accountability works.”

Of the 338 schools that did not make AYP during 2004-2005, 140 met all but one of the federal law’s 29 objectives for achievement, participation in statewide testing, attendance, and/or graduation. Seventy-six schools met all but two benchmarks, and 55 schools met all but three of the 29 AYP objectives. Taken together, 1,731, or 95 percent of Virginia’s schools either made AYP or achieved at least 26 of the objectives.

The AYP status of 23 schools remains to be determined because of the small number of students tested in reading and mathematics or other reasons.

Table 1. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for Virginia Public Schools

  Made AYP Did Not Make AYP To Be Determined Total
Schools 1,460
( 80% )
( 19% )
( 1% )

AYP ratings are based on the achievement of students on statewide assessments in reading, mathematics, and, in some cases, science. In Virginia, these assessments include Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, substitute tests of equal or greater rigor such as Advanced Placement examinations, English language proficiency tests taken by students learning English, and the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program for students with disabilities.

Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities made 5-point gains in reading achievement during 2004-2005. Black students and Hispanic students each made four-point gains in reading and narrowed achievement gaps with white students. Overall student achievement in reading increased, with 81 percent of Virginia students passing tests in reading compared with 79 percent during 2003-2004.

  • Black students achieved a 70 percent pass rate in reading, compared with 66 percent during the previous year.
  • The reading achievement of disadvantaged students increased five points, from 64 percent to 69 percent.
  • LEP students demonstrated a five-point increase in reading proficiency by achieving a 70 percent pass rate in 2004-2005, compared with 65 percent during the previous year.
  • Hispanic reading achievement increased four points, from 69 percent in 2003-2004 to 73 percent in 2004-2005.
  • White students achieved an 87 percent pass rate in reading, a two-point increase from 85 percent during 2003-2004.
  • Students with disabilities achieved a 56 percent pass rate, compared with 51 percent in 2003-2004.

The percentage of Virginia students passing mathematics tests increased to 84 percent in 2004-2005, compared with 83 percent during 2003-2004. Students with disabilities achieved the largest increase in mathematics.

  • Seventy-three percent of black students passed assessments in mathematics, compared with 70 percent during 2003-2004.
  • The mathematics achievement of disadvantaged students increased to 74 percent compared with 72 percent during the previous year.
  • The achievement of LEP students in mathematics rose one point to 77 percent, compared with 76 percent during 2003-2004.
  • Hispanic mathematics achievement increased to 77 percent compared with 76 percent during the previous year.
  • The achievement of white students in mathematics increased to 89 percent from 87 percent.
  • Students with disabilities increased achievement in mathematics by four points, from 57 percent to 61 percent.

The commonwealth made AYP for the first time since NCLB was signed into law in 2002 as students over all and all student subgroups in Virginia exceeded or met the achievement objectives for 2004-2005.

The addition of proxy percentages resulted in students-with-disabilities meeting the objectives for reading and mathematics. The percentages (14 percent for reading and 17 percent for mathematics) represent students with disabilities who demonstrate proficiency on modified achievement standards and are added to the subgroup’s pass rates under interim flexibility for states announced in May by United States Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

Eighty-four percent of Virginia students passed tests in science, the same percentage as in 2003-2004. All student subgroups showed improved performance in science.

  • Black students achieved a 72 percent pass rate in 2004-2005, compared with 70 percent during 2003-2004.
  • Seventy-three percent of economically disadvantaged students passed science tests, compared with 71 percent during the previous year.
  • LEP students achieved a pass rate of 68 percent in science compared with 67 percent during the previous year.
  • The percentage of Hispanic students demonstrating proficiency in science increased by one point to 73 percent.
  • The achievement of white students in science was unchanged, with 90 percent passing state science tests.
  • The achievement of students with disabilities was unchanged at 64 percent.

Sixty-three of Virginia’s 132 school divisions made AYP during 2004-2005, compared with 29 during the previous year. Of the 68 school divisions that did not make AYP, 26 met all but one of the 29 objectives for achievement and participation in testing. Twenty-four school divisions met 27 of the 29 objectives and 9 divisions met 26 of the objectives. The AYP rating status of one division remains to be determined.

Table 2. AYP for Virginia School Divisions

  Made AYP Did Not Make AYP To Be Determined Total
( 48% )
( 52% )
( 1% )

Virginia’s achievement objectives for 2004-2005 were among the highest in the nation because of the progress students have made since 1995 under the SOL program. For a Virginia school or school division to have made AYP during 2004-05, at least 65 percent of students overall and of students in all subgroups (white, black, Hispanic, LEP, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged) must have demonstrated proficiency on statewide tests in reading, and 63 percent of students overall and in all subgroups must have demonstrated proficiency in mathematics. The benchmarks for proficiency during 2003-2004 were 61 percent for reading and 59 percent for mathematics.

Science achievement factors into calculating AYP for elementary and middle schools that select science achievement 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.

Schools, school divisions, and states also must meet annual objectives for participation in testing and for attendance (elementary and middle schools) and graduation (high schools). Schools, school divisions, and states that meet or exceed these objectives are considered to have satisfied the law’s definition of Adequate Yearly Progress toward the goal of 100 percent proficiency of all students in reading and mathematics by 2014.

Title I schools that do not make AYP in the same subject area for two consecutive years are identified for Title I School Improvement. These 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. These 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.

Eight out of 10, or 609 of the commonwealth’s 763 Title I schools made AYP during 2004-2005. Thirteen Virginia Title I schools that had previously been sanctioned for low achievement made AYP for a second consecutive year and exited school-improvement status. Of the Title I schools that did not make AYP, 49 met all but one of the 29 AYP objectives, 35 met all but two objectives, and 30 met all but three. The AYP status of 9 Title I schools remains to be determined.

Sixty-five Title I schools entered (16) or remained (49) in “year one” of improvement based on achievement in reading and/or mathematics in 2004-2005 and must offer students the option of transferring to a higher-performing public school for the 2005-2006 school year. Thirty-four Title I schools entered or remained in year two of improvement status, and in addition to offering transfers, must also provide supplemental tutoring free-of-charge to children who request these services. Eight Title I schools entered or remained in year three of improvement status. These schools must offer transfers, tutoring, and take at least one of several corrective actions specified in the law to raise student achievement. Four Title I schools entered year four of improvement status. School divisions must initiate restructuring plans for Title I schools in year four of improvement.

Preliminary AYP ratings for all Virginia public schools are available in the Virginia School Report Card section of the Virginia Department of Education Web site (www.doe.virginia.gov).

Download AYP Data