Adequate Yearly Progress Details

All kindergarten through twelfth grade schools are required to demonstrate AYP in the areas of reading/language arts, mathematics, graduation rates for high schools and districts, and at least one other academic indicator. States are in charge of developing their own criteria for meeting AYP and must submit them for approval. Upon receipt, all criteria provided will be peer reviewed by a panel including representatives, parents, teachers and state and local educational agencies. After review, the states will receive feedback and recommendations from panelists on how to better align their criteria with the statute of No Child Left Behind. These requirements include ten specific guidelines:
- A single statewide accountability system which is applied to all public schools and local education agencies.
- The state accountability system must include all public school students.
- A state's definition of AYP must be based on expectations for growth in student achievement that includes that all students will be proficient in reading and math by 2013-2014.
- A state must make annual decisions about the achievement of all public schools and local education agencies.
- All public schools and local education agencies will be held accountable for the achievement of all individual subgroups.
- A state's definition of AYP must be based primarily on the state's academic assessments.
- A state's definition of AYP must include graduation rates for high schools, as well as an additional indicator for middle and elementary schools, which may be selected by the states (such as attendance rates).
- AYP must be based on reading/language arts and mathematics achievement objectives.
- A state's accountability system must be statistically valid and reliable.
- To make AYP as a school, a state must ensure that it has assessed at least 95% of students in each subgroup (special education, English language learners, low income, race/ethnicity) enrolled.

Currently, schools are allowed to appeal their AYP findings to their State Education Agency and/or the U.S. Department of Education, if applicable. Appeals have been made in account of standardized test results and data collected by testing companies such as Educational Testing Service.

The NCLB requires that states use standardized assessments in order to measure AYP. These assessments allow state education agencies to develop target starting goals for AYP. After those are developed, states must increase student achievement in gradual increments in order for 100 percent of the students to become proficient on state assessments by the 2013-14 school year. The Illinois Department of Education reports, "The NCLB Act is very prescriptive with regard to how this is to be done - very little flexibility is afforded to states. The same process was used to establish starting points for reading and math." Using assessment data from 2002, the U.S. Department of Education determined what specific percentages of students each state is required to make proficient in each subject area. Special considerations were made for students with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities. Once those percentages were determined, each State Department of Education is required to ensure the standards are the same for each public school, district and subgroup of students, irrespective of differences.

Successful progress
Adequate Yearly Progress requires that every public school complete three requirements annually. Requirements for the percentage of growth is determined on a state-by-state basis. In Illinois those requirements include:
- At least 95 percent of all students are tested for reading and mathematics.
- At least 95 percent of all students meet the minimum annual target for meeting or exceeding standards for reading and mathematics.
- At least 95 percent of all students meet the minimum annual target for attendance rate for elementary and middle schools or graduation rate for high schools.

Additionally, state education agencies must determine the yearly progress of districts and identify districts in need of improvement. Some states, including Missouri, have lowered standards in order to assure the success of their schools and districts meeting AYP.

Unsuccessful progress
Every state education agency is required to determine which schools do not meet AYP every year. However, a specific designation by the U.S. Department of Education called "Federal school improvement status" applies only to schools that receive Title I funds. State education agencies are required to determine what larger goals are required of every school as they fail to perform annually.

If Title I schools do not meet AYP for two consecutive years, they are placed in "Choice" School Improvement Status, which means they must develop an improvement plan, provide students the option to transfer to a different school and provide them transportation to get there, and use part of their Title I funds for professional development for their teachers and staff. If a school does not make AYP for three consecutive years, they will be in "Supplemental Services" School Improvement Status, which means that in addition to all the "Choice" requirements above, they must also use some of their Title I funds to support students by providing tutoring or after-school programs from a state-approved provider. If a school fails AYP for four years in a row they enter "Corrective Action" Improvement Status, where they must provide both "Choice" and "Supplemental Services", as well as choose one of the following: replace responsible staff, implement a new curriculum, decrease a school's management authority, appoint an external expert to advise the school, or restructure the internal organization of the school. Lastly, if a school fails AYP for five years or more, they must implement one of the following:
- Chartering: closing and reopening as a public charter school
- Reconstitution: replacing school staff, including the principal, relevant to the failure in the school
- Contracting: contracting with an outside entity to operate the school
- State takeovers: turning the school operations over to the state education agency
- Any other major governance restructuring: engaging in another form of major restructuring that makes fundamental reforms

These "other major governance restructuring" strategies were most popular in restructuring schools in 2007-2008, and allow schools to do a variety of things to improve their schools such as narrow the grade range, re-open as a theme school, close the school, create smaller learning communities, or create their own option that is not provided by the Department of Education.

The option of extending NCLB-required sanctions to non-Title I schools does exist; however, there is little current research indicating the implementation of this practice.