Press Release

(Washington, DC) – The Education Trust released today a brief report detailing the basic principles and core requirements of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) — the accountability mechanism in No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This report, entitled The ABCs of ‘AYP,’ is one in a series on implementing NCLB and comes at a time when there is considerable public confusion about the accountability requirements in the new law.

“As implementation of No Child Left Behind continues, there’s been a lot of criticism—and a lot of misinformation—about the expectations and requirements of the law,” said Ross Weiner, Policy Director with The Education Trust. “This has included often conflicting claims about the definition of AYP, what states are required to do, and the ability of states, schools and districts to meet those requirements. This report explains as clearly as possible what is and what is not in the law.”

According to Kati Haycock, Director of The Education Trust, “The new law isn’t perfect. No law ever is. But much of the criticism of NCLB is fueled by misunderstandings of what it actually requires and is driven more by the interests of adults who work in the system than by concerns about what is right for kids. Readers may not agree with our conclusion that if implemented conscientiously and in good faith, the systems that result will help make sure that we put into place the changed practices necessary to make much-needed progress in raising achievement and closing gaps. But at the very least some of the myths about AYP will be put to rest.”

The No Child Left Behind Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the federal government’s largest investment in K-12 education.

The report addresses such questions as: 

Will schools or districts lose their federal funds if test scores don’t increase or meet AYP?

  • What is the “safe harbor” provision and how does it work?
  • Do schools have to improve scores every year in order to avoid being labeled as ‘needing improvement’?
  • How do states determine their starting point and interim goals for getting all groups of students proficient by 2014?
  • Can schools be listed as ‘in need of improvement’ just because of one “off” year?