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PRESS RELEASE

February 17, 2006

Jennifer Fennell or
Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Florida Submits "Growth Model" Proposal to the U.S. Department of Education
Ten states will be selected to pilot projects that include student growth when determining if schools have made Adequate Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced Florida's submission of a "growth model" proposal, which includes student learning gains in the calculation that determines whether or not schools have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, to the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE). The U.S. DOE will select up to 10 states to pilot programs based on a growth model.

"The State of Florida's comprehensive data system enables us to follow the progress of individual students and we welcome the opportunity to apply our robust data to a growth model that will further the goals of No Child Left Behind," said Commissioner Winn. "Through our proposed method, the determination for Adequate Yearly Progress would be more than a static snapshot of overall proficiency, but would account for the individual academic progress each student has made. Further, our proposal will put students on track to reach proficiency and will acknowledge the efforts schools are making to close the achievement gap."

Florida's proposal has two components — a growth component and an improvement component. The growth model provides schools and districts with an additional way to meet AYP through the use of a "three-year trajectory." Calculated using current and prior years' assessment data, the trajectory will calculate a student's past rate of learning and will apply that same rate of learning over the next three years. If the student is expected to meet the level of proficiency within those three years, then the student is considered "on track to be proficient" and will be included in the percent of students proficient in the school's AYP calculation.

NCLB requires the total school population, as well as each of eight subgroups — American Indian, African American, Asian & Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Free/Reduced Lunch, LEP (Limited English Proficiency) and SWD (Students with Disabilities) — to meet AYP criteria. Under Florida's proposal, schools and districts would have another opportunity to meet AYP through the improvement model, which is designed to recognize schools that are making significant strides in closing the achievement gap among these subgroups. Schools that have improved the percent of proficient students in each of the subgroups by more than the state average would meet AYP requirements.

If Florida is selected to pilot the proposed growth model, it is estimated based on current student achievement that 1,237 schools will meet AYP — an additional 121 schools over last year. With the addition of the improvement model, an estimated 1,327 schools will meet AYP — 211 more schools than last year. New schools making AYP would stand out because the benchmarks for proficiency increased again this year — 7 percent in reading and 6 percent in math.

Currently, there are only two ways by which a school can meet AYP criteria — the status model or safe harbor model. The status model requires students to meet annual proficiency benchmarks — for Florida, Achievement Level 3 on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The safe harbor model requires a 10 percent decrease in the number of non-proficient students.

As states submit their growth model proposals, the U.S. DOE will conduct an initial review to determine basic eligibility. Following this review, eligible state proposals will undergo a peer review in April with final recommendations due to the U.S. DOE in May. The U.S. DOE intends to complete the approval process in time for approved states to apply their growth models to the 2005-06 AYP calculation.