Monday, June 25, 2007

NCLB - Adequate Yearly Progress? What the Heck Does It Mean? - Updated 6/25/07

This past week (9/30/06) Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said the No Child Left Behind Act is close to perfect and needs little change as its first major update draws near.

"I talk about No Child Left Behind (NCLB) like Ivory soap: It's 99.9 percent pure or something," Spellings told reporters. "There's not much needed in the way of change."

qualityg says …Oh My! What an educated statement. 99.9% pure. Do the NCLB measurements indicate such a rating? Did she check with some Six Sigma Guru before she spouted that figure, where else would someone come up with such an asinine figure.

Spellings said her job is to present Congress with good data to help lawmakers do their job. She said she is open-minded about ways to improve the law.

But when asked if she meant the law is truly "99.9 percent" close to working properly, she said, "I think it is that close."

qualityg says … You mean to tell me that no one followed up and questioned her more on that answer?

NCLB Signed by President Bush in 2002, the law is widely considered the most significant federal education act since Congress approved its original version in 1965.

It aims to ensure that all children can read and do math at grade level by 2014, an aspiration that has placed unprecedented demands on schools. The law requires states to increase testing, raise teacher quality and give more attention to minority children.

qualityg says … Is it not true Secretary Spellings that the NCLB law comes up for renewal next year? Shame on YOU!

If the NCLB is to help minority students then why did two million minority students be excluded from the NCLBs most recent reports?

Why is there so much variation of state standards that creates uneven expectations and achievement for students across the country? Passing grades in one state would be failure in another.

Based on the above questions I believe it is safe to say “current variation in state standards DO NOT prepare our students for workforce (US and Global) or college.

Here is some more proof: Fewer U.S. students completing college

Other posts by qualityg on NCLB at

Updated 10/01/06

NCLB Checks and Balances just plain "SUCK" -

State Data Wrong & Feds Don't Care

No Child Left Behind Act sets the rules:

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, graduation rates must be collected in order to determine whether a school meets annual yearly progress (AYP) standards.

A high school must have an 80% graduation rate and meet certain testing requirements to satisfy its AYP.

Schools that fail to meet AYP for several years can leave themselves open to sanctions, including forcing a district to pay to transport students to better schools or ordering the restructuring of failing schools.

The Michigan Department of Education is required under the federal law to report graduation rates annually to the U.S. Department of Education.

Michigan's state Auditor General's Office reported:

Audit Objective:
To assess the accuracy of high school
graduation and dropout data used by CEPI
in its calculation process.
Audit Conclusion:
We concluded that high school graduation
and dropout data used by CEPI in its
calculation process was not accurate. Our
assessment disclosed three material
conditions related to verification of data
accuracy, data evaluation and validation,
and correction of Single Record Student

10 high schools around the state were checked for accuracy and all 10 had incorrect graduation rates, dropout rates or both.

For the complete audit (High School & Graduation Audit - go to

qualityg says ... If you are from another state I would check to see if any audits have been done by your state attorney general's office.

The worst part about this mess is the federal governmnet knows the data is wrong but they still use the data to distribute federal dollars to schools. Yep, keep managing by the Bottom-Line. Another fine example of "The Demise of American Management."

A friend (KS) sent me this quote, I thought it applies to the NCLB. Instead of "He" put in "NCLB."

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...

for support rather than illumination."
-- Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Updated 11/20/06

Perhaps a SIPOC Analysis is required. Please see my following diagram:


Other Posts on SIPOC by qualityg:

Updated 6/25/07

Adequate Yearly Progress?

I continue to read and monitor reports on the NCLB Act. What does Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Mean ? This definition may help:

AYP is the key measure in determining whether a public school or school district is making “annual progress” towards the academic goals established by each state. Each state is responsible for setting goals that call for “continuous and substantial improvement” of each public school district and public school, with the ultimate outcome that all students must meet the state’s standards for proficiency in language arts and math by the year 2014.

As I read more about this Standard the more I am convinced it’s only a short-term “outcome” measure and I hate short-term “outcome” indicators because they only give you a snapshot of what is really happening to an individual student/school and it cause much Tampering to any System. What is required is a Motion Picture that captures the lifespan of an individual student/school system.

Those who would like to change the NCLB Act prefer the “Growth” model, which calls for on-going measurements of a student’s educational path. Those against it state this method requires a sound data management measurement system to track results. The decision makers in Washington D.C. doubt this method because the system discussed would not accurately track student progress – “AS OPPOSED TO WHAT?” – No measures at all requires each State (Process) to set its own standards as long as they meet AYP (outcome). – STUPID

NCLB which concentrates heavily on Reading and Math neglects the Big Picture of Education by excluding other subjects and application of knowledge by doing because this requires much stronger measurement methods (read above paragraph again) rather than Reading, Drilling and Regurgitation. Thus no Creativity is granted only “Yes People.”

Does NCLB really affect the quality of teachers? How could it? By what Method” Colleges and Universities supply and produce teachers into our school systems. By the time this happens it is too late. Perhaps the more stringent measures should be at the beginning of the process as opposed to the end when the product is already entrenched into tenure and the teachers union.

That is like having quality inspected at the end of a manufacturing line or when a customer returns a poor product. Is that any way to run a business or school system? Most businesses have been learning this lesson since the mid 1970s. The education system still runs like the 1870s.

See another post (Is it No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or No School Left Behind (NSLB)? By qg at

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