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Virginia School Report Card.
Education for a Lifetime.
Virginia School Report Card main page.Virginia School Report Card:
Accountability and Virginia Public Schools
Terminology.  

Introduction
Accreditation: High Standards for Learning and Achievement
Adequate Yearly Progress: Virginia & No Child Left Behind

Accountability Terminology
Questions Concerning Schools Receiving “Accreditation Denied” Status
PDF Version of this page including terminology and questions

Virginia�s accountability system supports teaching and learning by setting rigorous academic standards, known as the Standards of Learning (SOL), and through annual assessments of student achievement. The accountability system is part of a statewide program of support for the commonwealth�s public schools and school divisions.

Schools receive two annual accountability ratings based on the performance of students on SOL tests and other statewide assessments.

A school�s accreditation rating reflects overall achievement in English, history/social science, mathematics and science. Schools in which students meet or exceed achievement benchmarks established by the Virginia Board of Education in these four major content areas are rated as Fully Accredited.

Schools and school divisions are also rated according to the progress they are making toward meeting the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This federal law requires states to set annual benchmarks for achievement in reading and mathematics leading to an objective of 100 percent proficiency by 2014. Schools and school divisions that meet or exceed all annual benchmarks toward this goal are rated as having made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).States also receive AYP ratings.

While accreditation ratings are based on overall student achievement in all major content areas, AYP ratings are based on overall achievement and achievement by student subgroups in reading and mathematics.

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Accreditation: High Standards for Learning & Achievement

School accreditation ratings reflect student achievement on SOL assessments and the other statewide tests in English, history/social science, mathematics and science that constitute the Virginia Assessment Program. Ratings are based on the achievement of students on tests taken during the previous academic year and may also reflect a three-year average of achievement. Adjustments also may be made for students with limited English proficiency and for students who have recently transferred into a Virginia public school. Accreditation ratings also may reflect the success of a school in preparing students for retakes of SOL tests. Schools receive one of the following ratings.

Fully Accredited
High schools and middle schools are Fully Accredited if students achieve adjusted pass rates of 70 percent or above in all four content areas. A combined adjusted pass rate of at least 75 percent on English tests in grades 3-5 is required for full accreditation at the elementary school level and for other schools with students in these grades. Elementary schools also must achieve an adjusted pass rate of at least 70 percent in mathematics and in grade 5 science and Virginia Studies (administered in grade 4 or 5), and pass rates of at least 50 percent in grade 3 science and grade 3 history.

Accredited with Warning
A school receives this rating if adjusted pass rates are below the achievement levels required for full accreditation. A school may hold this rating for no more than three consecutive years. Schools that are Accredited with Warning undergo academic reviews and are required to adopt and implement school improvement plans. Schools that are warned in English and/or mathematics also are required to adopt instructional programs proven by research to be effective in raising achievement in these subjects.

Accreditation Denied
A school is denied accreditation if it fails to meet the requirements to be rated Fully Accredited for four consecutive years. Schools that have Accreditation Denied are subject to corrective actions prescribed by the Board of Education and agreed to by the local school board through a signed memorandum of understanding.

A school board must submit a corrective action plan to the Board of Education - within 45 days of receiving notice of a school being denied accreditation - describing the steps to be taken to raise achievement to state standards. The Board of Education will consider the plan in developing the memorandum of understanding, which must be in force by November 1 of the year for which the school has been denied accreditation.

In any school division in which one-third or more of the schools have been rated Accreditation Denied, the superintendent shall be evaluated by the local school board, which must submit a copy of the evaluation to the Board of Education by December 1 of the year for which the rating applies. In addition, the Board of Education may take action against the local school board, as permitted by the Standards of Quality, due to the failure of the local board to maintain accredited schools.

Any school denied accreditation must provide the following to parents and other interested parties:

  • Written notice of the school�s accreditation rating within 30 calendar days of the announcement of the rating by the Virginia Department of Education;
  • A copy of the school division�s proposed corrective action plan, including a timeline for implementation, to improve the school�s accreditation rating; and
  • An opportunity to comment on the division�s proposed corrective action plan prior to its adoption and the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the local school board and the Board of Education.

The local school board must submit status reports detailing the implementation of actions prescribed in the memorandum of understanding. The school principal, division superintendent and the chairman of the local school board may be required to appear before the Board of Education to present status reports.

As an alternative to the memorandum of understanding, a local school board may choose to reconstitute a school rated Accreditation Denied and apply to the Board of Education for a rating of Conditionally Accredited.

Conditionally Accredited
New schools that are comprised of students who previously attended one or more existing schools will be awarded this status for one year pending an evaluation of the performance of students on SOL tests and other statewide assessments. This rating may also be awarded to a school that is being reconstituted. A school rated as Conditionally Accredited following reconstitution will revert to a status of Accreditation Denied if it fails to meet the requirements for full accreditation by the end of the agreed upon term, or if it fails to have its annual application for such rating renewed.

 

Accreditation Benchmarks (Adjusted Pass Rates)

SUBJECT Grade 3 Grade 4-5 Grades 6-12
English 75% 75% 70%
Mathematics 70% 70% 70%
Science 50% 70% 70%
History 50% 70% 70%
 

Accreditation Adjustments

Remediation & Retesting
Virginia�s accountability system recognizes successful remediation programs that help students achieve minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics in all tested grades. Schools are credited for successful remedial instruction when students pass tests in content areas in which they failed assessments during the previous year. If a student fails a test required for graduation and successfully retests during the same school year, the first test does not count for accreditation.

Limited English Proficient Students
In kindergarten through grade 8, Limited English Proficient (LEP) students may be granted a one-time exemption from testing in history/social science, science and writing based on the judgment of a school-based committee. The scores of LEP students enrolled in Virginia public schools for fewer than 11 semesters may be excluded from the calculation of accreditation ratings.

Transfer Students
The scores of students transferring within a Virginia school division are included in the calculation of accreditation ratings. Students transferring into a school from another Virginia school division, another state or from a private or home school are expected to take the assessments for the content areas in which they received instruction. If a transfer occurs after the 20th day or the 20th hour of instruction in a course for which there is an end-of-course test, the achievement of the student may be excluded from the calculation of accreditation.

 

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Adequate Yearly Progress: Virginia & No Child Left Behind

NCLB in Brief

  • NCLB requires annual testing in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school to measure student progress in reading and mathematics.
  • NCLB requires all students to be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2013-14.
  • NCLB requires schools, school divisions and states to meet annual objectives for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for student performance on statewide tests in reading and mathematics.
  • NCLB requires the identification of states, schools and school divisions making and not making AYP.

Key Point: For a school, school division or the commonwealth to make AYP, it must meet or exceed 29 benchmarks for participation in statewide testing, achievement in reading and mathematics, and attendance or science (elementary and middle schools) or graduation (high schools). Missing a single benchmark may result in a school or school division not making AYP.

What’s New in 2007

New Tests
Virginia introduced SOL assessments in reading and mathematics during 2005-06 in grades 4, 6 and 7 to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which requires annual testing in these subjects in grades 3-8 and at least once during high school.

The results of these new tests will be used to calculate 2006-2007 pass rates, but in keeping with a July 28, 2006, directive from the United States Department of Education, an average of achievement on tests administered in grades 3, 5 and 8 and end-of-course tests during the three most recent years (2006-2007, 2005-2006 and 2004-2005) may be used as the basis for determining whether a student subgroup made AYP.

Retakes of End-of-Course Tests
The achievement of students on all retakes of end-of-course assessments in reading and mathematics will be included in the calculation of AYP ratings. If a student fails a test required for graduation and successfully retests during the same school year, the first test does not count in calculating AYP.

Annual Measurable Objectives

The yearly achievement benchmarks in reading and mathematics established by the Board of Education as part of Virginia�s implementation of NCLB are known as Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs).

The following tables show Virginia.s AMOs for reading and mathematics. For a school or school division to have made AYP (based on achievement during 2006-2007) at least 73 percent of students overall and students in each subgroup must have demonstrated proficiency in reading and at least 71 percent of students overall and students in each subgroup must have demonstrated proficiency in mathematics.

 
 
AYP: Annual Measurable Objectives for
Reading and Language Arts


2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Starting
Point
    Initial
Goal
    Initial
Goal
    Initial
Goal
    Goal
60.7 61.0 61.0 65.0 69.0 73.0 77.0 81.0 85.0 89.0 93.0 97.0 100%

AYP: Annual Measurable Objectives for Mathematics

2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Starting
Point
    Initial
Goal
    Initial
Goal
    Initial
Goal
    Goal
58.4 59.0 59.0 63.0 67.0 71.0 75.0 79.0 83.0 87.0 91.0 95.0 100%

Note: AYP ratings for the 2007-2008 school year are based on achievement on tests administered during 2006-2007 or on average achievement during the three most recent school years. Achievement must equal or exceed the Annual Measurable Objective shaded above.

 

Keep in Mind

  • A school that does not achieve AYP is not necessarily a �failing� school. A more balanced and accurate assessment of a school�s overall performance can be determined by comparing the number of AMOs that a school met with the total number of AMOs.
  • Virginia is a national leader in implementing high academic standards and measures to hold schools accountable for achievement through objective testing.

AYP Participation

NCLB requires a minimum of 95 percent participation of all students and all subgroups of students in the statewide assessment program at the school, division and state levels. If participation overall or in one or more subgroups is below 95 percent, a school or school division is not considered to have made AYP regardless of the percentage of students who demonstrate proficiency. Virginia uses up to three years of achievement data in calculating AYP to compensate for expected year-to-year fluctuations in achievement. Students with disabilities assessed through the Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program, or with non-standard accommodations, are not counted in calculating participation percentages for AYP.


AYP & Student Subgroups

AYP applies to all students and to these subgroups:

  • Students with disabilities
  • LEP students
  • Economically disadvantaged students
  • Major racial/ethnic groups (white, African-American, and Hispanic)

Students with Disabilities
NCLB includes a one-percent cap on the percentage of students who may be counted as proficient based on alternate assessments for students with disabilities. Virginia, however, has been granted an exception of 1.1 percent for assessments administered during 2006-2007.

Virginia also is allowed to use a proxy percentage to represent the number of students with disabilities who would have demonstrated proficiency on modified reading and mathematics assessments during 2006-2007 had such assessments been available. The proxy percentage (14 percent for reading and 15 percent for mathematics) is added to the pass rates of students with disabilities for schools and divisions that otherwise would not make AYP solely because of the achievement of disabled students. The proxy also is applied at the state level.

LEP Students
LEP students in their first year of enrollment in a U.S. public school are counted as participating in Virginia�s assessment system but their reading scores are not used in calculating AYP. LEP students at the lowest levels of English proficiency may be assessed with the Virginia Grade Level Alternative for reading. The use of the Stanford English Language Proficiency (SELP) test as a proxy reading assessment for these students has been discontinued.


Other Academic Indicators Required Under NCLB

In addition to meeting annual objectives in reading and mathematics, Virginia schools and school divisions must meet annual objectives for attendance or science (elementary and middle schools) and graduation (high schools), or show improvement. School divisions decide prior to the beginning of the school year whether to use attendance or achievement in science as another academic indicator for elementary and middle schools.

Virginia has established an interim objective for high school graduation of 61 percent for 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. Once longitudinal, student-level data are available, the commonwealth will establish benchmark graduation rates for 2008-2009 and beyond. The 2006-2007 benchmark for attendance is 94 percent and the 2006-2007 benchmark for science achievement is 70 percent.


Safe Harbor � Another Way to Make AYP

A school or school division may also make AYP if the failure rate of students in a subgroup that did not reach the AMO in a content area is reduced by at least 10 percent. This is known as �safe harbor.� Subgroups making AYP through safe harbor also must meet the objective or show improvement on the school or division�s other academic indicator.

Achievement in science will serve as the other academic indicator for high schools making AYP through safe harbor until the commonwealth�s student information system has sufficient data to generate graduation rates disaggregated by subgroup.


Title I Schools

A Title I school is a school that receives federal funds to help children in high poverty areas who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. Title I funding is based on the number of low-income children in a school, generally those eligible for free lunch or reduced-fee lunch programs. Some Title I schools have federally funded programs for a select group of qualifying students. These schools are known as targeted-assistance schools. Title I schools in which 40 percent or more students qualify for federally funded services are referred to as having schoolwide programs. The following accountability ratings and actions apply to all Title I schools:

Title I School Improvement - Year One
Title I Schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject area are identified for improvement and must notify parents of their status prior to the beginning of the school year. These schools must offer students the opportunity to transfer to a school within the division that is not identified for improvement. Lowest-achieving students receive priority in the awarding of transfers. Schools in year one of improvement also must develop and implement a two-year school improvement plan.

A Title I school in its first year of improvement that makes AYP is held in first-year improvement status. A school identified for improvement exits improvement status by making AYP for two consecutive years.

Note: Title I schools in seven divisions participating in a pilot program approved by the U.S. Department of Education may offer supplemental educational services instead of public school choice during the first year of school improvement. These divisions include Fairfax County, Fauquier County, Greene County, Hampton, Henrico County, Henry County and Newport News.

Title I School Improvement - Year Two
A Title I school identified for improvement that does not make AYP for a third consecutive year in the same subject area enters the second year of improvement. A school in its second year of improvement must notify parents of its status and continue to offer public school choice. A school in its second year of improvement must also offer supplemental educational services to low-achieving students. Low-income students receive priority for supplemental educational services.

A Title I school in its second year of improvement that makes AYP remains in second-year improvement status.

Title I School Improvement - Year Three
School divisions must take corrective action to raise achievement in Title I schools in the third year of school improvement status. These schools must continue to offer public school choice and supplemental services and school divisions must take at least one of the following corrective actions:

  • Replace school staff deemed relevant to the failure to make AYP
  • Implement a new curriculum shown by research as effective in raising achievement
  • Decrease the authority of school-level management
  • Appoint an outside expert to advise the school on the implementation plan developed during the first year of school improvement
  • Extend the school year or school day
  • Restructure the internal organization of the school

A Title I school in its third year of improvement that makes AYP remains in third-year improvement status.

Title I School Improvement - Year Four
School divisions must develop restructuring/alternative governance plans for Title I schools that move into year four of school improvement status. Schools in year four of Title I school improvement must also:

  • Continue to provide public school choice
  • Continue to offer supplemental educational services
  • Continue to take the corrective action selected in year three
  • Prepare a plan and make necessary arrangements for restructuring/alternative governance of the school

Restructuring/alternative governance would be implemented if the school again does not make AYP in the same subject area based on tests taken by students during 2007-2008 and moves into year five of improvement status.

A Title I school in its fourth year of improvement that makes AYP remains in fourth-year improvement status.

 

Title I School Improvement - Year Five
Title I schools in year five of improvement and identified for restructuring/alternative governance must take one of the following actions:

  • Reopen the school as a charter school
  • Replace all or most of the school staff relevant to the school�s failure to make adequate yearly progress
  • Turn the management of the school over to a private educational management company or other entity with a demonstrated record of effectiveness
  • Any other major restructuring of school governance
 

Note: If a Title I school in year five of improvement status fails to make AYP in the same subject area during the following year, the school continues to implement its restructuring/alternative governance plan.

Non-Title I Schools
Non-Title I schools are not subject to school-improvement sanctions under NCLB. Non-Title I schools in Virginia that do not make AYP for three or more consecutive years must continue to analyze data and implement corrective actions as specified by the school division.


School Divisions in Improvement

School divisions that do not make AYP in the same subject area across all grade spans for two consecutive years must develop and implement improvement plans within three months of identification. NCLB requires that school division improvement plans include:

  • Scientifically based strategies and best practices for raising student achievement
  • Professional development for faculty and instructional staff
  • Specific achievement goals for subgroups not making AYP
  • Identification of impediments to higher achievement by low-performing students
  • Strategies to promote parental involvement
  • Student learning activities, as appropriate, before school, after school or during the summer
  • Fiscal responsibilities of the school division and the technical assistance needed

School divisions identified for improvement at the beginning of 2007-2008 must implement plans �expeditiously� during the 2007-2008 school year. School divisions that implemented improvement plans at the beginning of 2006-2007 must make AYP by the end of 2007-2008 to avoid corrective action. In Virginia, potential corrective actions include deferring programmatic funds or reducing administrative funds.

 

Accountability Terminology

Questions Concerning Schools Receiving �Accreditation Denied� Status

PDF Version of this page including terminology and questions

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