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Studying Subgroups to Make AYP

Grant Joint Union High School District staff members are using their experience with breaking down data to try to meet the needs of all student subgroups in the district. Included: In-house ways to help different groups of students meet AYP.

Staff members at Grant Joint Union High School District in Sacramento County, California, already had a head start when it came to reviewing performance data for different student subgroups.

District staff and teachers at Grant are familiar with the disaggregation of student performance data on the basis of poverty and major ethnic subgroups because of California's previous accountability requirements. The 2003 changes to the state accountability system, consistent with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, included the addition of two new subgroups whose achievement must be tracked: English language learners and students with disabilities.

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Also consistent with NCLB, the state now requires 95 percent of students to participate in state testing and requires high schools to show improvements in their graduation rate.

During its first year of implementing NCLB, Grant Joint Union aligned its curriculum with state content standards in English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The district conducted a thorough analysis of student performance data and emphasized the need to differentiate instruction for various groups of students throughout the district.

Professional development was focused on helping teachers use student achievement data to improve instruction and develop strategies to teach the state content standards. The district also focused on improving student performance on the state high school exit examination. Remedial instruction was provided for juniors who did not pass the exam as sophomores, and the district established an intensive intervention program in reading/language arts for low-performing students in junior high school. Opportunities were greatly expanded for students to obtain additional assistance in after-school, summer school, and tutoring programs.

SOURCE: Center on Education Policy

To read the full report, see A Look Inside 33 School Districts: Year 2 of the No Child Left Behind Act.