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Area schools struggle to meet higher AYP standards

READ MORE: Area schools struggle to meet higher AYP standards
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The grades are in for area schools, and many did not pass with flying colors. Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, scores show that school districts have their work cut out for them if they want to meet federal standards.

In New Hanover County 12 schools met 100 percent of their AYP goals, including New Hanover High School. The school district says despite the majority of schools not meeting their goals, it doesn't mean they are not progressing.

"It's good data. It's good snap shot data," New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley said. "It gives us a point in where we are."

Markley stands by his schools when it comes to this year's AYP, a federal performance standard defined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.The goal is for all public school students to perform at grade level in reading and math by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

"The No Child Left Behind goal was to force districts to look at all their students," Markley said. "It's really done that, because we now spend more time working with students across the board.

With the AYP, the percentage of students required to be proficient in reading and math increases over the years. To pass this year, 71.6 percent of students in third to eighth grade had to be at grade level in reading. For math the percentage is 88.6. Last year the target for reading was 43.2 percent and 77.2 for math. That makes it a challenge for schools.

"Proficiencywise we are at or above where we were last year," Markley said. "When we look at student growth we're about where we were at last year, a little better in some places. But because of the new AYP standards, some of our schools didn't get 100 percent of our targets."

"All across the United States fewer schools will be making AYP this year, because the bar is raised every year," Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden said.

Pruden echoes what many area educators are saying: despite the AYP, schools are making progress.

"Every one of our schools improved in one of the measures of performance," Pruden said.

In Brunswick County eight out of 20 schools met AYP. In Columbus just one out of 19 made the federal standard. Just one of 14 schools in Bladen County made the mark. In Pender County, six out of 16 schools made AYP. We have not yet received results from Whiteville City Schools.

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