State school standard isn’t perfect

Published 10:02 pm Monday, August 3, 2009

The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results are in for Chilton County Schools, and for the most part the news is good.

All but three schools met 100 percent of their goals this year in the state standard that measures reading scores, math scores, percentage of students taking standardized tests, attendance records and graduation rates.

We would like to encourage parents doing research on AYP to look past the mere fact of whether your school passed or failed, because there is no middle ground. It’s either pass or fail.

In most cases of schools in our county, failure to meet AYP is due primarily to just one or two categories such as the participation of a subgroup such as special education students. If not fully understood, this can cast an unfair negative light on a school that is doing well in all other areas.

Graduation rate is another factor that typically keeps schools from making 100 percent of their AYP goals. But schools that have struggled in this area, like Jemison High School, for example, have hired dropout prevention advisors and implemented programs to improve in this area.

You will notice that this year Jemison High made AYP.

Even though AYP is not a perfect system for gauging the success of our schools, it is the standard that the state has chosen to use. It does show areas where there is room for improvement, and many local schools have improved since its implementation.

We applaud the hard working educators in all our schools.