AYP creates confusion across state

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AYP: Three letters that inspire a range of emotions and confusion.

In Alabama, AYP is common shorthand for Adequate Yearly Progress, the benchmark measurement used to measure school performance under the controversial No Child Left Behind Act.

Each August, the state releases the results for schools that did – or didn’t – make AYP. And each year, educators strive to add context to the state-driven data.

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Each year, under AYP, an incrementally larger percentage of students must pass standardized reading and math tests.

Ultimately, by 2014, the standards call for 100 percent of students to pass those benchmarks. And that, educators have long argued, is an unrealistic expectations.

That’s why Alabama, along with dozens of other students, is seeking an official waiver from the federal government to allow it to measure performance differently.

And we think that’s a good thing.

The intent of AYP and No Child Left Behind is on target: We must have expectations for our children and our schools, and accountability is absolutely necessary for improving our education system.

But we also must be realistic in the process, and the 100 percent benchmark in AYP simply is not realistic.

Plan 2020 – advocated by Alabama officials – and the incorporation of the Common Core Standards are key steps in righting the direction of public education.

Perhaps, if these can gain the necessary support, we’ll be able to remove AYP from our annual vocabulary.