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Evans High fails to make AYP

Posted: November 5, 2011 - 11:02pm

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Evans High School failed to make adequate yearly progress last school year, according to results released Wednesday by state education officials.

The school’s 83.9 percent graduate rate fell short of the 85 percent minimum needed to make AYP as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Earlier this year, school officials said Evans High needed just nine more students to graduate during summer school to meet the minimum requirement.

Principal Don Brigdon seemed confident enough students reached that goal during a summer school graduation ceremony in July.

Phone messages left for Brigdon weren’t immediately returned last week.

Two Columbia County middle schools, though, made AYP after initially failing to meet standards for the eighth-grade math section of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

Enough pupils at Grovetown and Harlem middle schools passed summer retests of the CRCT to meet progress standards.

Harlem Middle needed just one black pupil to pass the retest.

“Once we found out he passed (this summer), we knew at that point we were going to make it,” said Harlem Middle Assistant Principal Brian Reeder. “But it’s always good to see it officially.”

Grovetown Middle’s challenge was to pass multiple black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged pupils on the retests.

“I had gone through all the numbers ... and was pretty confident (of making AYP), but until you see it in the final report, you just don’t know,” Principal Tom Smallwood said.

The state Department of Education uses scores on such standardized exams as the CRCT and End of Course Test to help determine AYP. On those tests, pupil populations are broken down into subcategories based on race, disabilities and socio-economic status.

If a large enough group in any subcategory fails to meet the minimum standards set by the state on those tests, then the entire school is deemed inadequate.

As a second consideration, elementary and middle schools must meet minimum requirements on attendance rates and high schools must minimum graduation rates to make AYP.

The graduation rate measures the number of students graduating in four years upon entering high school.

In the 2009-10 school year, the minimum graduation rate to make AYP was 80 percent, which Evans High did with 82.8 percent. This school year, it is currently set at 90 percent.

Since Evans High met the graduation rate requirements last school year, it faces no state penalties. If it misses the target again this year, the school would be listed as “needs improvement” and face such sanctions as allowing students to transfer to a school classified as “higher-performing.”

However, that might not remain a concern.

State Superintendent John Barge earlier this year applied for relief from the graduation rate standard with federal Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. There has not yet been an answer to that application.

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