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Maine Department of Education

 “Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Talking Points”

October 20, 2003


·        There are three possible categories of identification for districts and for individual schools: made AYP; placed on AYP Monitor status (identified for the first time this year); or placed on Continuous Improvement Priority (CIP) status (identified for two or more years).


·        A press conference has been set for Monday, October 27th at 1:00 p.m. at the State House in Augusta to discuss AYP status of schools across the state to the public and media.


·        Commissioner Gendron:  “Maine educators, parents, and citizens must keep in mind that school status under the No Child Left Behind Act is only one of a number of indicators that can be used to get a picture of overall school performance.  Maine schools have been recognized nationwide as being very successful in recent years, including scoring in the top 10 states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in both Reading and Mathematics.  Moreover, Maine was rated as recently as 1999 as the highest performing education system by the National Goals Panel, an independent, bi-partisan agency of state and federal officials charged with measuring national educational goals.”


·        The new NCLB formula for yearly progress sets the baseline at the 20th percentile of total student enrollment in every state as a beginning point to reach the eventual target of moving every child to state proficiency standards by 2014. Therefore, we would expect approximately 20% of Maine schools to be identified as not having made AYP this year.”


·        Further information about AYP can be located on the Department of Education’s website at:


·        Maine’s accountability plan uses the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) as the measure of student achievement.  Testing occurs in grades 4, 8, and 11.  For federal purposes, only MEA scores in Reading and Mathematics are used to determine AYP status.


·        NCLB requires state proficiency targets for Reading and Math to be met by the entire testing group as well as by disaggregated subgroups.  Schools also need to meet a 95% participation rate on the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) and average daily attendance rates for elementary/middle schools/graduation rates for high schools.  Commissioner Gendron noted that many of the schools that did not make AYP under the new rules failed to make the 95% participation rate goal.   She added that this should be a straightforward problem to address when the MEA is administered again in March of 2004.


·        This year Maine has identified 10 (less that 1%) CIP schools.  Maine DOE’s preliminary run of the data revealed that approximately 190 Maine schools (roughly 25%) that did not make AYP using the new federal requirements (AYP Monitor status).  A significant number of schools on the list did not make AYP for participation rates alone, and will have their AYP status changed to Made AYP once accurate local student counts are obtained.  This compares to preliminary numbers from California with 3,219 schools (45%) not meeting AYP and 925 (13%) that are required to provide corrective action or restructuring.  Connecticut identified 157 (16%) schools that did not meet AYP and 8 (less than 1%) schools requiring corrective action or restructuring.  In Florida, 87% of the state’s public schools did not make AYP under the new rules.  It is difficult, however, to draw conclusions from these numbers because each state sets its own performance standards in its own accountability system.


·        Once a Title IA school is identified as a Continuous Improvement Priority school, a Distinguished Educator from the Department of Education is assigned to serve as a school improvement consultant.  Additional funding to support improvement is also provided from federal Title IA allocations.


·        It is often asked whether Maine should lower its standards (as defined in Maine’s Learning Results) so that fewer of our schools will be identified.  However, since the federal law requires performance targets to be set of the 20th percentile, the rigor of our standards has little to do with the initial number of schools identified.  As we move toward 2014, however, the rigor of our standards may in fact be a more difficult goal to reach for all students.


·        Key aspects of Commissioner Gendron’s philosophy on NCLB: 

Ø      Maine’s approach to NCLB and AYP is one of shared accountability.  To help emphasize this point, press conferences and other media materials will include statements to this effect from key state and federal political leaders and other stakeholders in our educational system.

Ø      Accountability structures must be balanced with support.  DOE will continue to strengthen our services for providing support to identified schools, and re-affirm our commitment to marshalling statewide resources and assistance to support improvement.

Ø      Continuous improvement must be a critical component of the culture of all Maine schools.  If we are to meet the high expectations for learning embodied in the Learning Results, we must recognize, celebrate, and learn from promising practices that result in more students performing at the Meets and Exceeds Standards performance levels on local assessments and the MEA.



For more information contact either Patrick Phillips at 624-6606 or Jacqueline Soychak at 624-6734 or at