The Impact of Growth Models on AYP Subgroup Accountability
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The No Child Left Behind Act (2001) increased the federal presence in the test-based accountability movement with its goal of all children meeting standard by 2014. To measure progress toward this goal, each state created a series of intermediate goals. Schools or districts that attained the goal for a given year in 9 different subgroups made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and, in the case of Title I schools, avoided sanctions. In 2007, states were allowed to incorporate student growth into their accountability model.The purpose of this study was to compare the middle-grade AYP subgroup designations of one Washington State district under the current status model and the growth models used by two states - Minnesota (value tables) and North Carolina (trajectories). District middle-grade data from 2009 was linked to earlier test data to determine whether non-proficient students demonstrated growth as required by the Minnesota and North Carolina approaches. The resulting AYP subgroup designations in both reading and math were compared to the designations resulting from Washington State's approach. The following AYP subgroup designations were reversed from making AYP under Washington State's approach to failing to make AYP under a growth model: the American Indian and Hispanic subgroups under value tables, 3-year trajectories and 4-year trajectories in reading; the Asian/Pacific Islander subgroup under 3-year trajectories and 4-year trajectories in reading and math; and the Asian/Pacific Islander subgroup under value tables, in math. These AYP subgroup designation reversals may be correcting Type I errors in Washington State's current approach, in which the percentage of students meeting standard is adjusted by the application of a large confidence interval. Or these reversals in AYP subgroups may represent Type II errors resulting from the numerous constraints on measuring growth.Only the Math AYP designation for all students was changed from failing to make AYP to making AYP under value tables. Based on the state policy implemented, some AYP subgroup designations were reversed. Hence, different decisions were reached about whether children are left behind, raising concerns about the validity of federal accountability for district subgroups as policies evolve.