Channel 2 Action News has obtained new statewide data showing a statewide drop among Georgia schools under standards established by the No Child Left Behind Act.

PDF: 2011 AYP Charts

The Georgia Department of Education released the Adequate Yearly Progress report for Georgia on Thursday, showing eight percent fewer schools reached the milestone. The number did not include Atlanta Public Schools because of a state investigation into cheating on standardized tests.

AYP allows the U.S. Department of Education to determine how schools and school districts across the country are performing academically according to results on standardized tests.

Here are some of the findings across the state:

– The percentage of all schools making AYP dropped to 63 percent, down from 71 percent in 2010.

– More than 70 percent of all high schools in Georgia did not make AYP.

– 379 schools now have “needs improvement” status, which is 74 more schools than last year.

– Only 31 school systems had 100 percent of their schools make AYP.

State School Superintendent, Dr. John Barge told Channel 2’s Jodie Fleischer the results were not surprising given the dramatic increases in math and language arts performance requirements needed to make AYP.

“That might be one of the inherent issues with the current accountability plan, it’s tough. It gives us a goal to shoot for, but at some point you start leveling out,” said Barge who added that the scores don’t necessarily mean a school isn’t making gains.

According to the state, the AYP information for the Atlanta Public Schools has been held for a second year in a row because of the CRCT cheating scandal. That’s because part of the formula to determine AYP factors in CRCT scores and AYP from years past, which are all now under scrutiny.

“Given what was uncovered in the investigation, we will be going back to the 2009 results. We have no confidence in the data, this is supported by the investigation, we will mark the schools impacted as not having made AYP,” said Melissa Fincher, Georgia Department of Education Associate Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability.

Not all of the news is bad, though. According to the report:

– Across the state, 106 schools made their AYP that did not meet it last year.

– 16 schools also came off the needs improvement list, according to the state.

– 30 percent of schools that didn’t make AYP missed it by only one category, which could include students with disabilities or students with limited English proficiency.

“It’s so important that we look at all of the good work that a school is doing and we look at progress, if a student may not meet the standard but you’ve moved them ten percentage points, there’s good work that’s being done there,” said Barge.

He hopes parents will take the time to look at the individual data for their child’s school, including the standards the school met and what the expectations were. Each school will receive a report with a specific breakdown of how they fared in each category. The reports will enable principals to recognize achievements and find areas to motivate staff to improve.

He also hopes parents will support a new proposal the state plans to submit to the U.S. Department of Educuation for approval in September.

“I hope folks are going to be excited when we roll out our new concept or idea of a new accountability plan. It’s actually more rigorous, because it doesn’t look at a single test score, it looks at multiple indicators.”

According to the Georgia Department of Education, AYP is the formula used to determine if schools and school systems are meeting standards. It is required under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. It consists of three parts: Participation in Reading/English Language Arts and Math Tests, Academic Performance in Reading and English Language Arts and Math, and a “Second Indicator,” which is graduation rate in high school and usually attendance in elementary and middle school.