Alaska Schools Making Progress

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Local schools in Alaska are slowly making improvements in meeting their adequate yearly progress – or AYP – basic standards.

On Friday, the Department of Education (and Early Development) showed that nearly 60 percent of the state’s 505 schools met the “No Child Left Behind” standards – a net increase of 10 schools over last year’s count.

Erik McCormick is the Director of Assessment, Accountability and Information Management for the Department.  He says Alaska schools have shown a positive trend, but not as steep a growth as they had hoped for.  He says this year, the results show 77 percent of students passed the language test and 66 percent passed the math test.

The AYP standard is a measurement of each school.  But the state is working with them and local districts to help them improve.  McCormick says much of the work comes by improving communications between failing schools and those that have shown success.

Eric Fry, the Department’s Information Officer, points to a long list of sources available to local schools and districts – from new teacher training programs, to mentoring, to pre-kindergarten development.

The Federal No Child Left Behind Act – which initiated the standards-based reporting – has not yet been reauthorized.  However, McCormick says the department is working a plan that presumes it will be in statute to meet the 2014 deadline.

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