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      Adequate Yearly Progress Explained

      Thirteen Dougherty County Schools made Adequate Yearly Progress this year, thirteen failed and so did the district as a whole. But what does that mean for the school system?

      AYP is a big deal for school districts. It can affect funding and cause schools to be put on probation.

      AYP, a simple concept either a school made Adequate Yearly Progress or it didn't.

      But figuring out what constitutes adequate progress over the course of a year, is a little tougher to wrap your mind around.

      This tells us whether we have met the a-m-o, the annual measurable objective; test participation and a second indicator, said Dougherty County Testing Coordinator Renee Bridges.

      This year in order to meet AYP, schools had to have about 80 percent of their students pass math and language arts tests, Have a 95 percent participation rate, and couldn't have more than 15 students with 15 or more absences from school.

      A misconception is that AYP measures a school from year to year. Rather they are benchmarks all schools have to meet regardless of how they did in prior years.

      To compare yourself to another school when you've got a totally different population. You've got a different set of teachers, you've got different situations that are occurring you just need to strive to do the best you can and do better then you did the previous year, said Bridges.

      One question that arises is whether or not it's all necessary. For students CRCTs and AYPs don't have a bearing on their overall grade or whether or not they graduate. It's more of a check-up on particular schools and districts and the testing is required because of the No Child Left Behind law.

      There needs to be some accountability in education and No Child Left Behind provided a platform for that. It's not a perfect platform, it needs work and it will be revisited by congress, said System Spokesman R.D. Harter.

      And education officials say the goal should be to make sure children are learning.

      What are the most important things are they following student after K-12 completion into secondary and seeing what they are doing with career and college and their lives. And there are a lot of things we can take into account to measure student success, said Harter.

      But aside from looking favorably by meeting those benchmarks there are incentives for schools to make AYP.

      If you have made AYP consecutively and you are given a distinguished award, there is a monetary award, said Bridges.

      Dougherty county officials say there is still opportunity for their schools to make AYP. They're appealing some of the attendance rulings.

      They say as many as nine additional schools could end up making AYP.