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No Educator Left Behind: Adequate Yearly Progress

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.


What does the phrase adequate yearly progress mean, and how will schools measure it?

U.S. Department of Education:

Adequate yearly progress, or AYP, refers to the growth needed in the proportion of students who achieve state standards of academic proficiency. A state's definition of AYP primarily is based on the state's academic assessments. The definition of AYP must also include graduation rates for high schools and an additional indicator for middle and elementary schools. The AYP also will be based on separate reading-language arts and math achievement objectives. The new definition of AYP is diagnostic in nature and intended to highlight where schools need improvement and should focus their resources.


States may calculate AYP for a school using up to three consecutive years of data, but if a state chooses to average data over two or three years, it must still determine whether a school or district made AYP each year. For a school to make AYP, each subgroup and the school overall must make AYP, and the school must test at least 95 percent of students, including 95 percent of each subgroup. Schools must report all results by subgroup, but if the number of students in a group won't produce statistically reliable results, the state need not identify the school as not making AYP based on the subgroup results.

Schools that receive federal Title I funds to improve learning among disadvantaged children and fail to make AYP for two years in a row are considered in need of improvement and face a range of consequences.

Read other questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.