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Just 17 Percent Of Wyoming Schools Met Federal Expectations

School performance data released Tuesday by the Wyoming Department of Education shows a gap between how the state says its schools are doing and how the federal government says they’re doing under No Child Left Behind.

The majority of Wyoming schools at least partially met expectations under the state’s accountability system in the 2014-2015 school year. But only 17 percent of Wyoming schools met federal expectations—called ‘adequate yearly progress.’

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow says the federal measures give an outdated, narrow view of student achievement.

“I don’t know that very many people would agree that only 17 percent of our schools in Wyoming are making adequate progress,” says Balow. “So when we look at the state accountability ratings, we have about 50 percent of our schools meeting expectations or exceeding expectations, and that is a much more accurate glimpse of what our schools are doing.”

Balow says Wyoming schools still did well on the federal measures—when compared to other states. Less than 12 percent of schools in Nebraska met adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind. And just under 17 percent of schools in North Dakota did so.

The accountability data comes as Congress weighs legislation that would get rid of federal accountability measures like adequate yearly progress, and place more emphasis on state accountability measures.

“Our state accountability system offers a great measure of our schools, and we are poised for success under a potential reauthorization [of the federal education law],” says Balow. “Under that scenario, more flexibility and control would be returned to the states—and the state accountability would become even more a measure of our student success than it is today.”

For the last school year, about 14 percent of Wyoming schools exceeded expectations under the state system. Thirty-two percent met expectations. Twenty-eight percent partially met expectations, and about 15 percent did not meet expectations. 

The remaining 11 percent—39 of Wyoming’s roughly 350 public schools—were independently reviewed because they are alternative schools or have a very small student population. 

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