At Caldwell High School Monday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna told members of the press that several schools around the state - including some first-timers - have met rigorous standards for student improvement and academic progress. Luna said that while many public schools are making improvements, there is still room for more work toward goals. He reported that more than 60 percent of all public schools in Idaho meet certain proficiency standards.
“Since 2007, we have worked to raise the bar in Idaho’s public education system, and our students have risen to meet these challenges every year with the help of our talented teachers and dedicated parents,” Luna said. “I am proud of the great progress we have made in raising student achievement over the past three years. While we celebrate our successes today, I recognize we still have a long way to go.”
Due to provisions in President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind education plan, state superintendents are required to report on the progress of schools in their respective states each August. The annual report is referred to as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). The report is based on the results of the eighth-grade Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and 41 areas of achievement of each school. Points of achievement, or target areas, help administrators determine progress of different groups and classes of people, including students with limited proficiency in the English language, as well as those who are economically disadvantaged.
Department officials say that even though they have raised requirements to meet AYP, many schools are responding to the challenge. Here's what the department said about newer standards:
The student achievement goals were increased in the 2009-2010 school year. To make AYP this year, 85.6 percent of students in a school had to reach grade-level proficiency in reading, compared to 78 percent last year. In math, 83 percent of students in a school had to reach grade-level proficiency this year, compared to 70 percent last year.
Luna held the conference at Caldwell High School to highlight the progress of the Caldwell School District. In 2009, none of the schools in that district met AYP requirements. In 2010, however, eight 0f the 10 met standards and met AYP, including the high school. Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls and Farmin Stidwell Elementary School in Sandpoint also met requirements for the first time.