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System doesn't meet AYP
Student retests could change current status
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All Dawson County schools except one made Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, this year, but the high school’s failure to do so affected the entire system.


The high school did not meet the mark in the area of academic performance on AYP, which is the cornerstone of accountability for the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.


Dawson County Superintendent Keith Porter said it was due to certain subgroups who “came up short in the areas of math and language arts” on the Georgia High School Graduation Test.


“We’re very close,” Porter said. “We’re just a few kids below it.”


As a result, however, the system as a whole did not make AYP.


Porter said the situation at the high school can be remedied if certain students come back for a retest during the summer.


“If we have a few more to pass, then we would come off the list and make AYP for the coming year,” he said.


AYP is based primarily on student achievement on required statewide tests.


For elementary and middle schools, the exam is the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, or CRCT. For high school, it is the graduation test.


Results released this week were from an initial report.


The final report will be released in the fall and will include summer retest scores, according to Matt Cardoza, a spokesman for the state Department of Education.


If the local school system still has not met AYP by fall, it will have one year to bring up the scores.


Systems that don’t meet the mark for AYP for two straight years are designated as “needs improvement.”


Porter said Jute Wilson, the high school principal, is offering certain incentives, including free yearbooks, for students who return for the retest.


“It’s hit or miss during the summer to get these kids back in,” Porter said.

Statewide, 71 percent of schools made AYP this year, a drop of 8 percent from last year’s numbers, according to Cardoza.


He said the decline was due “in large part to the increase in the academic bar in mathematics that students in elementary and middle school had to meet in order for a school to make AYP.”


Thirty-five schools around the state were able to lose the Needs Improvement designation by making AYP two straight years.