Tests and adequate yearly confusion
Most citizens find government statistics baffling, leaving them searching for a reliable explanation.
We fear that the latest education numbers, those called ěAdequate Yearly Progressî and required under the ěNo Child Left Behindî Act, will do more to confuse than to enlighten the public.
The news looks bad. The Associated Press reported, ěMany of the stateís 2,500 public schools failed to make adequate yearly progress. …î
With far too many government agencies, the statistics are calculated to make programs look good. …
The adequate progress statistic diverges from that tradition of sugar-coated statistics. Instead, it pours lemon juice on them.
Citizens should be mindful of two points as they peruse these numbers.
First, the definition of adequate yearly progress means that a school must have hit all of its many academic goals during the past year. A school could have 21 goals, meet 20 of them for a 95.2 percent mark, and still be said to have failed to make adequate progress.
Second, the act made the standards tougher this year. Thatís why the success statistics do not compare with last yearís. Itís like saying you made adequate fitness progress last week by doing 20 pushups but failed this week by doing 22 because the standard is now 25 pushups.
Weíre not complaining about high standards, especially for education. But we would like to see the ever-increasing standards for the public schools matched by ever-increasing support from the Congress and the General Assembly. In the past several years, weíve seen just the opposite.