School Testing Results Fall Short Of Academic Targets

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore City schools take another hit as state assessments come in. Nearly 90 percent of the city’s elementary and middle schools fell short of performance goals set by No Child Left Behind.

Pat Warren has reaction from the schools.

Schools superintendent and CEO Andres Alonso cautions parents and students against reading too much into these academic targets.

The federal No Child Left Behind law sets the bar for student proficiency each year. And this year, 89 percent of city schools failed to reach the target.

The Brody family considers reading and math the ABCs of the AYP, which stands for Adequate Yearly Progress, subjects that shouldn’t be measured strictly by tests.

“I think there’s a big problem in the fact that they’re focusing on test scores,” said Mark Brody.

In a written statement, schools superintendent and CEO Andres Alonso calls the AYP arbitrary, something not to be confused with performance or progress.

“I have said for four years, I don’t care about AYP,” Alonso said. “So anyone experiencing angst just isn’t listening. The challenge is to ensure progress. My concern is that this year progress didn’t happen in too many schools. AYP is a distraction from that real conversation.”

“It talks about failure rather than progress,” said Baltimore Teachers Union president Marietta English.

English looks at it from the teachers’ point of view. She says teachers feel bad when they see these test results.

“Of course we do,” English said. “You work hard all year and you hope to see that your children have made progress and your test scores will reflect that. When I saw it today I was feeling bad because I know how hard teachers work, and we didn’t expect to see that we had slipped so far.”

The analysis is no doubt just beginning.

Adequate Yearly Progress is the federal requirement that 100 percent of America’s students be proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Last year, 60 percent of city schools failed to meet the federal standard. This year, it was almost 90 percent.

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