The entire year’s worth of work and worry comes down to this week’s test results. All of the juniors at Magnolia County High School are taking the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT). Well…almost all of them. There are a number of them in special education who are taking the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA).
But we had a faculty meeting this afternoon, where the principal gave us all a pep talk, and he thanked everyone for their efforts so far. Three years ago, our school failed to make AYP because too many students were absent during the test. 95% of eligible students are required to take the test on test day. The test lasts several days, and tomorrow is the last day. But it is seen by our principal as the most difficult hurdle, which is the math portion of the test. It’s basically all or nothing, right here this year. If we make the 95% passing rate in all subgroups, the school makes AYP and gets off the “Needs Improvement” list. Failing to get off the “Needs Improvement” list could have some dire consequences, since next year, the standards are supposed to go up 2 more points. Last year, the school made the standard in math by only 0.7%, which is barely making it. We made it last year and must make it this year to get off the dreaded list.
As previously pointed out, every subgroup must make that 95% pass rate. The subgroups include minorities, economically disadvantaged and special education. And it is the special education subgroup that has our principal biting his nails. None of the subgroups are a sure thing, but special education has been the biggest hurdle for most school systems in the country.
Being on the list for two consecutive years without meeting AYP means extra sanctions As it is, students in schools that fail to make AYP can transfer to schools within a district that do make it. However, in Magnolia County, both high schools are on the “needs improvement” list, so transferring is rather pointless.
Go ahead and read this article to learn more about why many schools are failing to meet AYP.