Moving Targets: What It Now Means to Make Adequate Yearly Progress Under NCLB

Explainers | September 21, 2009
Image of Cover for "Moving Targets"

This summer, states once again announced which public schools made "adequate yearly progress," or AYP, under the No Child Left Behind Act. It is an annual ritual during which schools find out if enough of their students scored proficient on state assessments to meet that year's state benchmark. States are required under NCLB to release report cards on the performance of every school before the beginning of the following school year. If schools miss the annual benchmark for more than two consecutive years, they face an escalating series of sanctions, which can culminate in school restructuring.

In 2007, Education Sector published States' Evidence: What It Means to Make 'Adequate Yearly Progress' Under NCLB. The report discussed the basics of "making" AYP and the multiple routes schools can take to get there. The appendix of the report included three tables showing, by grade level, each state's annual benchmarks for student proficiency, called "annual measurable objectives" or AMOs, for school years 2004–05 through 2006–07. In this update, we extend the tables through the 2009–10 school year, providing an up-to-date resource for evaluating each state's annual benchmarks and how those benchmarks have changed over time. We also discuss how the changing AMOs fit into NCLB's larger accountability system.