Eight buildings in the Bloomfield Hills School District earned the highest grade possible for a key state evaluation tool used by the Michigan Department of Education for 2010-11.
However, Andover High School was notably marked as one of schools across the state that has not yet reached Adequate Yearly Progress standards. Commonly known as AYP, the rankings evaluate everything from MEAP scores in math and reading, overall attendance and school graduation rates. They are used to help keep more than 3,000 schools across the state accountable under the controversial No Child Left Behind legislation.
The full report of schools and grades can be found here.
The district met the state's standards overall, but Andover was the only school to receive a 'B' grade.
The report indicates the school fell short in a sub-group category of students with disabilities.
District officials said there are other, more reliable, indicators of achievement and that Andover's score is a precursor for what other schools will experience as the law becomes fully implemented.
"Andover is the canary in the coal mine for Michigan schools under No Child Left Behind," District Spokeswoman Betsy Erikson Brown said. "Each year the targets for achieving AYP are raised, and it becomes more difficult for small sub-groups to meet the target. As we get closer to 2014 when 100% of students need to be proficient, we will see more, if not all, of our schools in the same position as Andover."
Brown said Andover continues to be one of the highest-achieving schools in the state when college scholarship offers and ACT scores are considered.
"Andover has earned a "B" grade because of the unique testing challenges of small sub-groups," she said. "Not making AYP clearly does not reflect how our students perform in school, in college, and in life."
The report did show that the district can rebound from these rankings. Lahser High School was removed from the 2010-11 sanction list for not making AYP the previous year.
Avondale and Pontiac
Also taken off the AYP sanction list for showing marked improvement from last year were the Pontiac Academy for Excellence High School, and Avondale High School.
Both the Avondale Academy and the Pontiac Life Skills Center were identified for restructuring as alternative schools, the report said.
Overall, seven Avondale schools received A or B grades, and Meadows Upper Elementary School was not evaluated.
Pontiac schools were among 37 districts across the state that did not meet AYP standards in elementary, middle or high school levels.
Around the state
Overall, 79 percent of Michigan's public school buildings and 93 percent of school districts made AYP for 2010-11. This is down 7.1 percent from 86 percent of schools and 95 percent of districts who made AYP in 2009-10.
State school officials attributed the overall drop in scores to the increased rigor: federal proficiency targets increased this year and schools had to have a higher percentage of students proficient to be considered as having made AYP.
"We are raising the bar on what they need to know, to also raise AYP simultaneously is very, very difficult," said Jan Ellis, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Education, in a statement released along with the data.
Every school in the state, however, received state accreditation.
“We must continue to set high expectations for our schools so our students are prepared for the competitive global economy,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. “But we need an accurate and honest reflection of where our schools are in preparing our students."
Between the 2009-10 and the 2010-11 school year, targets jumped between 8 percent and 10 percent. For instance, in math, 2010-11 represented the first proficiency target increase since 2006-07; the previous three years retained the same targets.
Ellis said every time the state increases the target by 10 or 12 points, especially in math, there tends to be a group of students on the cusp, that when the scores increase, they just don't make it
The reduction in the percentage of schools meeting AYP can be seen most significantly in high schools, where there was a 21.9 percent decrease in the number of high schools making AYP this year. Alternative schools also had a substantial decrease in the percentage making AYP, from 36.6 percent last year to 17.7 percent this year.
Ellis said the state is awaiting word on whether the federal government will give Michigan a waiver on meeting proficiency targets in the next 10 years as it works on boosting overall academic performance.