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PWCS: Students Show Progress in Mathematics and Reading; Surpass Many State AYP Targets

Statewide Standards of Learning and Adequate Yearly Process statistics were released Thursday.

  • The following is a press release from Prince William County Schools. Check Patch in the coming weeks for in-depth school profiles analyzing these statistics.

Nearly 90 percent of students in Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) passed the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in mathematics (87 percent) and reading (89) assessments administered during the 2010–11 school year.

In addition to assessing student mastery of content standards, the SOL tests are used in the determination of school, school division, and state progress toward the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

AYP is based on a complex set of measurements set by NCLB under which states, school divisions, and individual schools are required to demonstrate progress toward a standard that increases each year, with the ultimate goal of all students being proficient on state tests by 2013–14.

For tests administered in 2010–11, the AYP targets for the Commonwealth of Virginia were 86 percent for reading and 85 percent for mathematics. To make AYP, schools work to achieve 28 targets measured across seven groups of students (grouped by ethnicity, English language proficiency, disability status, and socio-economic status).

This year, in Virginia, each school division and each school must have at least 86 percent of all students and specific student groups passing the SOL in reading and at least 85 percent passing the mathematics SOL test. In addition, schools must meet graduation rates of 80 percent and attendance rates of 94 percent or higher. If any student group misses just one target—which can sometimes be determined by a single student—the entire school may not make AYP.

In addition, there are requirements about student participation in the assessments (95 percent of students in all groups must take the assessments). Twenty schools in PWCS met all of the AYP targets. An additional 11 schools made AYP in 27 out of 28 categories. Half of the schools made AYP in at least 26 out of 28 categories and over 70 percent of schools in PWCS made AYP in at least 24 out of the 28 categories.

All high schools in PWCS met the federal graduation requirements and elementary and middle schools met the attendance requirements. Also, based on analyses of the data by the PWCS Office of Accountability and individual schools, PWCS anticipates possible positive changes in AYP status for one or two schools. 

Overall, PWCS exceeded the benchmarks in both reading and mathematics for all students, with a pass rate of 87 percent for mathematics and 89 percent for reading. In addition, the performance of students in each racial/ethnic group and economically disadvantaged students was at least 80 percent passing in reading and math. 

“In the important area of assessments, we are pleased that our efforts with students are showing results,” said Steven L. Walts, Superintendent of Schools. “While making AYP, as currently defined by the NCLB legislation, has become extremely difficult due to the benchmarks being moved up over time, we continue to embrace our mission of providing a World-Class education to all of our students.” 

Regarding the SOL, Divisionwide highlights for PWCS include subject-level pass rates at or above 80 percent for all levels (elementary, middle, and high) and for all subject areas. All 55 reporting elementary schools had pass rates greater than 80 percent in mathematics, with 38 above 90 percent. Twenty-two schools had pass rates above 90 percent in reading. Both combined schools had pass rates above 90 percent in reading and mathematics. All fifteen reporting middle schools had pass rates greater than 80 percent in reading, with eight above 90 percent. At the high school level, all 10 had pass rates greater than 80 percent in reading, with nine above 90 percent. 

“I am extremely proud of this school division and our hardworking employees. Progress in student achievement takes all of us working together—teachers, administrators, support staff, and our School Board members. We see continued success in rising scores in math and in reading, especially at the middle and high school levels, and that speaks well for our focus on students and their academic achievement,” said Dr. Walts.

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