progress annually, they should measure performance of all students, not just those who happened to remain in a school from year to year.

Use of Multiple Measures. Because of the limitations of test scores, measures of progress should not rely on single tests only, but should combine information from a range of sources. However, this information should be combined in ways that are transparent and understandable to schools and the public.

Regular Review. In order to ensure that the criteria for determining progress remain valid and that the method for determining school progress remains sound, states and districts should regularly review the reliability, validity, and utility of the overall system and revise the technical specifications and performance expectations when appropriate.


The following examples are from two states that meet some, but not all, of the committee's criteria for adequate yearly progress. North Carolina's system uses evidence from past performance in determining whether schools are eligible for recognition or for assistance. However, the state's criteria rely solely on test performance, rather than on the use of multiple measures, and it judges school performance based on average performance, rather than on the performance of subgroups within schools. Missouri's system for determining adequate progress, meanwhile, explicitly encourages schools to narrow the achievement gap between high-performing and low-performing students, not just raise the overall average. But the state's system relies only on test performance and does not base its targets on evidence from successful schools.

North Carolina judges the progress of schools by examining scores on the state's End of Course tests and compiling a “growth composite” that is based on three factors: statewide average growth, the previous performance of students in the school, and a statistical adjustment which is needed whenever test scores of students are compared from one year to the next.

The state provides cash awards to schools that show substantial gains in performance. Schools gaining at the “expected” rate, based on the state formula, receive awards of up to $750 per certified staff member and $375 per teaching assistant. Schools that register “exemplary” gains, or 10 percent above the statewide average, can receive up to $1,500 for each certified staff member and $500 per teaching assistant. Schools can use the money for bonuses for teachers or for school programs. Schools must test at least 95 percent of their students (98 percent in grades K-8) in order to be eligible for recognition.

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