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| The East High School Academic
Evaluation - 2011
East High School, Memphis, Tennessee
2011 State Report Card: East High School Fails Again to Meet Adequate Yearly Progress Benchmarks, Becomes a "School Improvement I" School
Disclaimer: The editor of The East High Alumni Page is no expert in understanding the State Report Card on Schools. Every year when it is issued he finds himself struggling once again to understand the meanings of terms and the statistics. You are encouraged to review the State's report yourself at the Department of Education web site. If you happen to be an expert and would care to lend your assistance to the editor to help provide information here, please contact editor@EastHigh.org.
December 2, 2011 - The Tennessee Department of Education today released its annual Report Card on Schools. East High School again fails to meet all the federal benchmarks and therefore fails to make the established Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. This is the second year in a row for East to fail after having finally recovered a bit from failing scores in the 2000s. Since it is the second year to have failed, the school is classified as a "School Improvement 1" school. That means the school is subject to the following actions:
The commissioner of education shall:
♦ Publicly identify all schools that are placed in improvement status; and
♦ Study all schools placed in improvement status.
The No Child Left Behind federal regulations require:
♦ Public Notification and Dissemination (of status)
♦ Public School Choice
♦ Revise SIP (School Improvement Plan) (including 10% of funding used for professional development each year school identified)
♦ Plan with Outside Expert
♦ Technical Assistance
♦ Peer Review of SIP
The State of Tennessee, and a number of other states, has requested from the federal government an exemption from the AYP requirements. Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says he expects a response from the U.S. Department of Education by the end of 2011.
Where East Failed
It appears from the state report that East High failed to test sufficient students overall in math, failed to test sufficient number of African American students in math, failed to test sufficient Economically Disadvantaged students in math to meet the benchmark in that category. Apparently those tested did meet the benchmark percentage classified as proficient or advanced in math. (These statistics which imply an insufficient number of students tested yet still appears to report those tested as meeting the requirements is an area that the editor does not understand at all in several respects). It appears 89% of East students were tested in math whereas the target was 95%. Compounding this editor's confusion, the state published target for high school math in 2010-2011 proficiency or advanced levels to be 45%. East had 37%, so how that is scored as meeting the target in the report card is not understood.
The report card indicates East did not meet the federal benchmark in reading/Language Arts/Writing for economically disadvantaged students scoring as proficient or advanced.
Also, East did not meet the graduation bench mark, graduating 70.6% of its seniors (cohort?) in 2010. The 2010 graduation rate is used for the 2011 report. The target rate was 90%. The 2011 graduation rate is reported at 79.2%.
ACT Score — the best evaluator and comparison
The East High Alumni Page considers ACT scores the best evaluator of academic performance at any high school. State standards vary, Tennessee has changed its testing and requirements at least twice since it began reporting such results to the public, each time saying that one could not validly compare scores from previous years to the following testing procedures. Not so with the ACT, except in 1989 when it did revise its scoring but when it did it released a method to compare scores before and after 1989. Unfortunately, East High not only does poorly on the ACT, in 2011 its scores dropped a fraction of a point in all categories.
That said, it should be noted that beginning in 2010 Tennessee required all juniors to take the ACT test. That likely lowered the average ACT scores since poorly performing pupils who previously would not have bothered to take the test were required to do so. The composite ACT score average at East High School for 2011 is 15.9, down from 16.2 the previous year. This is below the state composite average of 19.5. The 2011 East High composite ACT score is approximately equivalent to an ACT score before 1989 of 12. (American College Testing Program, 1989)
Where East passed or did betterIt has already been mentioned above the confusion this writer has over the math AYP scoring where the report shows East students meeting the benchmark but at the same time failing to meet the number of students taking the test benchmark and also appearing not to meet the 44% proficient or advanced level published in November 2010 as the 2010-2011 target. Nevertheless, the report does say, whatever limitations may be applied to the particular report, that those taking the math test apparently met the federal benchmark.
The report also says East pupils met the federal benchmark for Reading/Language Plus Writing except for those in the economically disadvantaged category. Again, the editor of The East High Alumni Page is wondering. Since 86.8% of the students at East are classified as economically disadvantaged in the report, it makes one wonder how that category of student can fail to meet the benchmark yet the overall results meet the benchmark. The report does indicate that 96% of all East students were tested in Reading/Language Arts, so perhaps that 9% that are not classified economically disadvantaged scored high enough to raise the overall score to a satisfactory level.
In the state standardized test (TCAP) for writing, the 11th grade scored an "A." In addition, the 11th grade writing improvement was considered above what was expected for 1 grade level improvement.
The value-added score for the End of Course/Gateway exam also showed more than 1 year's expected progress in Algebra I.
Just a note about teachers
"Highly qualified teachers" taught 96.6% of the core courses at East.
Read and interpret the report yourself. It is available on the Tennessee Department of Education web site.
Minor revision was made to this article on December 3, 2011, to change the term used from "Annual Yearly Progress" to Adequate Yearly Progress" to conform with the State Department of Education's current terminology. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 which mandated the concept uses both terms and both have been widely used to describe, presumably, the same thing.
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