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How southwest North Dakota schools scord on AYP.

Some southwest ND schools, including Halliday, unhappy bar keeps getting raised with test

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North Dakota education officials are worried a test mandated through the No Child Left Behind Act is hurting North Dakota schools. In response, the Department of Public Instruction is expected to apply for a waiver from that portion of the law in September, officials said Monday.

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"They're going for 100 percent, and we don't get 100 percent on anything anywhere," North Dakota DPI Superintendent Wayne Sanstead, North Dakota DPI state superintendent. "There's the preposterous part of it."

Of the 179 school districts, 131 met Adequate Yearly Progress standards in the 2009-10 school year. That number dropped to 77 in 2010-11. North Dakota did not meet the standards. Reading composite scores were at 76.13 percent while math scores were at 77.13 percent.

"It's going to be worse literally for 2011 because the expectations have gone up again," Sanstead said.

The DPI announced Feb. 16 that it would apply for a waiver to certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, which was meant to make changes to improve education in public schools. One of those provisions would be the AYP, according to a release.

The AYP test measures math and reading comprehension.

"All of the other states are making decisions on applying for the waiver process, which effectively stops the NCLB reporting on schools," Sanstead said, adding that 10 states have waivers for the act.

The expectations are raised every year, making the goals unrealistic, said Robert Bauer, DPI standards and achievement assistant director.

"You have top performing schools ... that are in the 98 percentile but they are failing because their percentage increase wasn't an adequate enough in meeting the goals for No Child Left Behind," he said.

Schools with less students have skewed scores, Halliday Public School Superintendent Dale Gilje said. HPS, which has 46 students, scored 75 percent in reading and 60 percent in math, according to the report.

"The system is a flawed system, and has been that way in my judgment for years," he said. "We can have just one or two students, and that is the class.

Dickinson Public Schools did not meet the AYP standards for math or reading.

"I think that school districts being accountable and reviewing students' performance and taking a look at the subgroups, I think that is a positive thing," DPS Superintendent Doug Sullivan said.

Beach Public School exceeded its math score achievement goal, which was 82.64 percent, with a 90.91 percent. While BPS Superintendent Larry Helvik was happy with the math score, he did not like the goals being increased.

"We're hoping some possible relief in the change in the format because it is impossible to get to that 100 percent by 2014," he said.

Beach does not want to "leave children behind," Helvik said, but the AYP does not work for schools in North Dakota.

"I think it has made us find ways to get students to achieve at a higher level," he said.

One of the flaws Gilje brought up was that this year's fourth graders would be tested against last year's fourth graders.

"It's very hard to say that the students didn't improve," he said, adding the test doesn't track individual student performance. "It tracks district performance."

Schools that do not meet the increased expectations are identified as schools that did not make progress, Sanstead said.

"Quite frankly, I think some of our schools are now excited about the waiver because they feel in the public eye they have paid the price," he said.

"You have top performing schools...that are in the 98 percentile but they are failing because their percentage increase wasn't adequate enough in meeting the goals for No Child Left Behind," he said.

Schools with less students have skewed scores, Halliday Public School Superintendent Dale Gilje said. HPS, which has 46 students, scored 75 percent in reading and 60 percent in math, according to the report.

"The system is a flawed system, and has been that way in my judgment for years," he said. "We can have just one or two students, and that is the class."

Dickinson Public Schools did not meet the AYP standards for math or reading.

"I think that school districts being accountable and reviewing students' performance and taking a look at the subgroups, I think that is a positive thing," DPS Superintendent Doug Sullivan said.

Beach Public School exceeded its math score achievement goal. While BPS Superintendent Larry Helvik was happy with the math score, he does not like the goals being increased.

"We're hoping some possible relief in the change in the format because it is impossible to get to that 100 percent by 2014," he said.

Beach does not want to "leave children behind," Helvik said, but the AYP does not work for schools in North Dakota.

"I think it has made us find ways to get students to achieve at a higher level,"

he said.

One of the flaws Gilje brought up was that this year's fourth graders would be tested against last year's fourth graders.

"It's very hard to say that the students didn't improve," he said, adding the test doesn't track individual student performance. "It tracks district performance."

Schools that do not meet the increased expectations are identified as schools that did not make progress, Sanstead said.

"Quite frankly, I think some of our schools are now excited about the waiver because they feel in the public eye they have paid the price," he said.

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