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No Educator Left Behind:
Student Subgroups

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.


Are schools given credit for subgroups of students making progress?

U.S. Department of Education:

Yes. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act includes a special "safe harbor" feature for schools that can demonstrate that students in a particular subgroup are making significant progress toward proficiency, but have not technically met the standard for adequate yearly progress (AYP). This provision is intended to help prevent over-identification of schools as needing improvement.

When students in a school are making significant academic progress, a "safe harbor" is allowed if the number of students in a subgroup who are below proficiency is reduced by 10 percent. For example, if students in a particular subgroup are 30 percent proficient and achieve a 7 percent increase in the number of proficient students (a 10 percent reduction in the 70 percent of students below proficiency), then that group would be considered to be making adequate yearly progress and the school would not be identified as being in need of improvement. That provision has the added advantage of requiring larger gains for the subgroups farthest from proficiency while allowing for smaller gains for those closer to proficiency, where gains are harder to achieve.

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