Moving Beyond AYP: High School Performance Indicators

Matthew Walsh

Alliance for Excellent Education, with author Lyndsay M. Pinkus
June 2009

The concept of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) ought to be scrapped in high schools in favor of other measures, argues this policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education. AYP leads to states tailoring their tests and schools simply for basic achievement rather than college-and-career readiness. Author Lyndsay M. Pinkus believes that AYP should be replaced with several different variables linked to achievement, including attendance, course success, and promotion rates. SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement (AP) test scores are offered as indicators of high-school students' potential beyond graduation. The report discusses states, such as Kentucky, which have managed to tackle the strenuous task of following high-school students to college or a post-graduation career. Pinkus does acknowledge, however, that tracking students has its difficulties, especially when graduates leave the state. The policy brief determines that the most appropriate course to begin the journey away from AYP is to research the ways attendance and other indicators can be implemented in a productive fashion.

Ohio's new biennial budget includes a revision of the state's standards and assessments, which is a vital component of measuring student achievement. The Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) will be replaced with a combination of the ACT or other college entrance test, end-of-course exams, and a senior thesis. These alterations, especially the transition from the OGT to ACT or other college entrance exam, are good ideas, but the details of these budget provisions are largely unclear. There is also a concern that schools will fail to require challenging thesis projects. Overall, Ohio is ahead of many states in preparing high-school students for life after graduation, but it can still improve by focusing on the policy brief's reporting on the limits of AYP and the importance of college-and-career readiness.

For the report, see here.