Posted: Aug 5, 2011 11:12 AM by Dennis Bragg (KPAX/KAJ Media Center)
HELENA- Three-fourths of Montana's schools are meeting the standards of the federal "No Child Left Behind" education program and the latest numbers show the state is whittling away at that margin.
That's the main message of the new Adequate Yearly Progress report released Friday morning by Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau. This is the 9th annual report showing how Montana schools are doing to meet the learning standards set by the 10-year old No Child Left Behind Act.
The report shows 609 of Montana's 821 public schools are meeting the requirement of the federal law. And Juneau says the data shows "consistent improvement" in test scores.
"Montana students and teachers have been working very hard to improve test scores in reading, math and science. Their efforts are demonstrated by the progress in our overall academic performances statewide," Juneau stated.
Over the past five years the percentage of students at, or above proficient in reading tests has climbed from 78% to 85%. Progress in math hasn't be as dramatic but is climbing. In 2006, only 61% of Montana students hit the benchmark in math skills. Today that's at 68%.
Schools are required to meet 41 benchmarks on the state test to meet AYP under the federal NCLB. A school's adequate yearly progress is calculated based on test participation, academic achievement, graduation rate and other statistics. Every few years, the percentage of students who must achieve proficiency on state tests increases to get closer to the 2014 deadline of 100 percent proficiency for all students.