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Three CAB Schools Earn 'Exemplary' Status
April 9, 2008 - Official results recently released by the state confirm information the Charles A. Beard School Board received in February regarding the performance of CAB schools under federal and state academic guidelines.
As previously reported, CAB interim Superintendent Ray Pavy announced at the February 12 school board meeting that three of CAB's five schools met adequate yearly progress (AYP) standards mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Additionally, Pavy reported that three CAB schools were placed in the highest academic progress category under the state's educational accountability law, P.L. 221.
For a school to make AYP, all student demographic groups with at least 30 members - including those based on race/ethnicity, economic background, limited English proficiency and special education - needed to pass last fall's ISTEP-Plus exam or show significant improvement toward passing. If any group did not meet the required guidelines, the entire school was deemed to have failed to meet AYP.
The two CAB schools that did not meet AYP were Knightstown Intermediate School and Knightstown Elementary. Pavy told board members at the February meeting that each of these schools had a subset of special education students who did not meet passing rate standards for one portion of the ISTEP exam.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, 37 percent of Indiana schools that did not meet AYP missed in only one testing category, while 70 percent missed in two or three categories. The DOE said special education remains the most commonly missed target among schools not meeting AYP.
The DOE reported that 54 percent of Indiana's schools met AYP, a two-percent increase from last year. At the district level, the DOE said 84 percent of the state's school corporations met AYP this year, a six-percent improvement.
While Knightstown Elementary did not meet the federal AYP standard, the school did just fine under P.L. 221, the state's educational accountability law, as did Carthage and Kennard elementaries. Of the five categories the state has created to monitor academic progress of Indiana schools, these three schools were placed in the highest, receiving an "Exemplary Progress" rating.
The state's classification system, enacted in 1999, two years before NCLB was passed, is based on the percentage of all students who pass the English and math portions of the ISTEP exam (averaged across subjects and grade levels). The state also considers the improvement in the passing percentage of schools' students over time.
Of CAB's three elementary schools, students at Carthage had the highest ISTEP passing rate (88.4 percent), followed by those at Knightstown (80.4 percent) and Kennard (75.8 percent). Kennard Elementary students charted the biggest improvement of the three schools, raising their passing rate 8.6 percent from last year, while Carthage and Knightstown elementary students posted improvement rates of five percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
The positive performance of CAB's elementary schools is consistent with results across Indiana. According to the DOE, the state's elementary schools remained the top performers overall.
Despite failing to meet AYP, Knightstown Intermediate School earned a place in the state's second highest category, "Commendable Progress." The ISTEP passing rate for KIS students was 80.1 percent, down 0.9 percent from the year before.
Knightstown High School performed the poorest of CAB's schools under the state's academic progress standards and was placed in the next to the lowest category of "Academic Watch." Only 68 percent of KHS students passed the ISTEP last fall, a decrease of 2.9 percent from last year.
According to the DOE, a greater percentage of Indiana schools showed improvement this year (21 percent) compared to last year (17 percent). The agency also reported that 57 percent of the state's schools had remained in the top three placement categories of Exemplary, Commendable or Academic Progress.
"Changes made by schools are resulting in notable improvements," said Indiana's superintendent of public instruction, Suellen Reed. "We are encouraged to see signs of progress at nearly all levels, but more must be done to turn around those schools that consistently struggle year after year."
With that goal in mind, Reed recently announced that Indiana is applying to take part in a new federal pilot program allowing states more flexibility to meet student needs by targeting resources and interventions to those schools most in need of significant reform. More information about the Differentiated Accountability pilot program can be found online at www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/differentiated/factsheet.html.
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