As promised, I ran calculations of the Proficiency Index used to determine AYP compliance for JC McKenna and EHS, both for students with disabilities and students without disabilities. I have to put in a disclaimer on the EHS calculations: there are only 21 students with disabilities in Grade 10 so the government does not consider this subgroup separately in determining EHS AYP compliance. According to the government, there are accountability indices in place for small schools, but they don't really give much more information than that.
JC McKenna flat out wins the Evansville Schools award for achieving AYP without invoking any Confidence Intervals or "safe harbor" requirements whatsoever. There are 53 students with disabilities enrolled and they attained a 78.4% Proficiency in Reading (compare to the target of 74%) and 64.2% Proficiency in Math (compare to the target of 58%). Students without disabilities (305 students) scored 97% and 95.6% respectively in Reading and Math this year. Good show to JC McKenna! Keep up the good work Mr. Flaherty and crew!
EHS students without disabilities achieved Proficiency Indices of 92.6% in Reading (vs. 74%) and 89.2% in Math (vs. 58%). AYP is achieved at EHS. To gauge the progress of EHS students with disabilities, I also calculated the Proficiency Indices for this subgroup. If this data were included for AYP, Evansville would be in trouble with scores of 52.3% in Reading and 42.9% in Math in 2009-2010. In a not too distant future, I envision the district enrollment increasing to the point that these data will be included in our AYP designation. Or there may be changes in the law that hold small schools more accountable to this group of students. So I decided to run a "safe harbor" calculation on this data to see if EHS students with disabilities would qualify under those circumstances. Only the Math achievement qualified with a 22.6% decrease in non-proficient students from a year ago. That was reassuring. The Reading achievement for these students, conversely, showed a 9.8% increase in non-proficient students in one year. One has to keep a perspective that these are pretty small sample sizes, but a district wide trend of gradual increases in non-proficient students seems to be developing in Evansville. I'm sure this data is one reason Mr. Everson asked the Board to fund a Reading Strategies Class beginning next year at EHS. Good proactive approach, Mr. Everson. I'm anxious to see the impact this class has on EHS scores in the next few years.
The bottom line is that TRIS isn't alone in their struggles with AYP in our district. Their Students with Disabilities enrollment meets the minimum to require TRIS to include these data in their AYP reports and the High School grade 10 enrollment is not sufficient in this subgroup to require inclusion in AYP reports. As the targets increase to 100% Proficiency Indices over the next 4 years, more and more subgroups will begin to challenge the system. I predict that the next at-risk group in our district will be the students with economic disadvantage. These scores are typically 10% less than those of our students without economic disadvantage. What we have here is a bad news, good news sort of scenario. We have a gap between the achievement of these two groups, but it is smaller than the statewide gap for two reasons: 1) our disadvantaged kids score better than those in the state as a whole and 2) our non-disadvantaged kids score lower than those in the state as a whole. The trick is to increase both groups at the same time, and my next post will address this issue as well as further delve into the possibility of gradual declines in our achievement data over the last 5 years, as measured by WKCE data. Stay tuned for "Eagle Eye View: ECSD 5 year Achievement Index"