U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

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Table of contents
Title page
National Summary
State Profiles
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Full report in PDF format (1,601K)

State Education Indicators with a Focus on Title I


Report Objectives and Design

State Education Indicators with A Focus on Title I is designed to provide: 1) consistent, reliable indicators to allow analysis of trends for each state over time, 2) high data quality to provide comparability from state to state, and 3) accessible indicator formats for increased uses by a variety of audiences. The report is based on two-page profiles that report the same indicators for each state.

Guide to State Indicator Profiles

The state profiles that follow are key measures of the quality of K-12 public education in each state. The profiles in this report focus on the status of each indicator as of the 1999-2000 school year, and also include data for a baseline year to provide analysis of trends over time. The data sources section provides more detailed information and explanations for the indicators. It is important to note that the data was collected for this report before the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was enacted. As a result, the state data reflect Title I requirements under the 1994 legislation. The indicators in each state profile are organized in five categories:

School and Teacher Demographics
The indicators in this category provide a statewide picture of characteristics of the public K-12 school system, including schools, teachers and finances. The statistics for each state on number of school districts, public schools by grade level, number of charter schools, number of teachers reported by FTEs (full-time equivalents), and public school enrollment are primarily based on data from the Common Core of Data surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) from the state departments of education.

Student Demographics
An important aspect of the assessment and evaluation for Title I is the disaggregation of student achievement results by student characteristics, particularly race/ethnicity, poverty, disabilities, English proficiency, and migrant status. This section of the profile provides readers a picture of the size of these student populations in each state. The bar graph showing counts of public schools by percent of students eligible for free lunch program (i.e., students from families below the poverty level) is useful for reviewing the disaggregated student achievement results reported on the second page of each profile.

Statewide Accountability Information
The information on state accountability systems was compiled from several sources: annual updates collected by CCSSO with each state education agency (Winter 2002), review of state Internet web sites, and print reports. The information provides comparable information on the status of state accountability systems and the relationship to Title I accountability (in cases where States had not yet developed a unitary accountability system, a requirement in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001). Definitions of the five indicators on state accountability are:

  • Statewide Goal for Schools on Student Assessment: As of 2002, 35 states have established a goal, such as percentage of students in a school that will attain the state-defined proficient level on state student assessments in specific subjects (see assessment name and state definition of "proficient" on second page of each profile).

  • Expected School Improvement on Assessment: 30 states have set a target for amount of improvement in student achievement scores for the school by a certain time period (e.g., annually).

  • Indicators for School Accountability: 50 states have defined one or more indicators that are used in the statewide accountability system or Title I system.

  • Title I AYP Target for Schools: 50 states have measures of adequate yearly progress (AYP), as required under Title I. Schools that do not meet their AYP targets for 2 years are identified for improvement. In 18 states the AYP target for school improvement is based on the statewide accountability system, and the report lists "same" for this indicator. If it is different, the Title I target is described. (Statewide AYP measures were required under the 1994 Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.)

Title I Schools
To offer a focus on Title I, the report includes several specific indicators of Title I programs. These include the number of Title I schools (including schools offering "targeted assistance" to low-income children and schools with high rates of low-income children that use Title I funds to support "schoolwide programs"), the number and percent of Title I schools meeting AYP goals, and the number and percent of Title I schools identified for school improvement. In addition, the report includes the Title I funding allocation per state. States report the data on Title I programs in the State Consolidated Performance Report submitted on an annual basis to the U.S. Department of Education.

National Assessment of Educational Progress
State-level results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which are comparable state by state, are reported in the lower right corner of the left page of each state's profile. NAEP proficiency definitions are available in Appendix C.

Student Achievement
The name of the state assessment and state definitions of proficient are included at the top of the right page of each state profile. State assessment aggregate scores were obtained from the Consolidated Performance Report (Section B) submitted by states to the U.S. Department of Education.

Each state determines its state test, how levels are set and defined, and the grade at which students are tested. Thus, student achievement scores are not directly comparable state to state. Student results for a state, e.g., percent meeting the state's "proficient" level, can be compared with the same state's performance in the prior year. Definitions of state proficiency levels, when not listed in the profile, are available in Appendix A.

States reported student achievement results for the 1999-2000 school year for mathematics and reading/language arts at three grade levels, as specified by Title I requirements prior to the program's reauthorization in 2002: Elementary—grade 3, 4 or 5; Middle—grade 6, 7, 8, or 9; and High—grade 10, 11, or 12. State Education Indicators provides disaggregated assessment results for states reporting by schools with Title I programs, school percent of students from low income families, limited English proficient students, and migrant students. The availability of results by other student characteristics are listed in the Student Achievement by Category table.

The "student achievement trend" at the bottom of the right page of each profile shows a histogram with the percent of students in different school categories that meet or exceed the state definition of "proficient." Histograms are displayed for four states with 1996-97 as their baseline year for analysis, and six states with 1995-96 as their baseline year. In order for a trend to be reported for multiple years, a state must disaggregate by school poverty level, use the same assessment tool and keep the same definition of proficient. Changes in these assessment characteristics disqualify a state from having a trend analysis. In the bottom right corner of the right page are reported two measures of student outcomes from secondary schools—the high school dropout rate (based on annual percent of grade 9-12 students leaving school or "event rate") and the postsecondary enrollment rate (percent of high school graduates enrolled in any postsecondary education institution in the fall of the following school year).

Progress of State Standards and Assessments

This report tracks the progress of state Title I programs, and particularly the development and use of state standards and assessments in state accountability. A goal of the annual report is to chart the progress of states in developing state accountability systems based on state content standards and aligned state assessment programs.

Title I is the largest single grant program of the U.S. Department of Education. For over 30 years, it has earmarked funds for states to provide additional educational support for the neediest children in all 50 states and the outlying territories. Twenty-seven percent of schools with more than 75 percent of their students living in poverty receive some level of Title I funds. Schools with greater than 50 percent poverty were eligible (prior to the 2001 reauthorization) to become a "schoolwide" program which allows funds to be distributed throughout the entire school. Effective in 2002-2003, schools with greater than 40 percent poverty may operate schoolwide programs. Targeted programs channel funds directly to the neediest students.

The 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) required states to monitor the progress of schools in improving the achievement of low-income students, and also required alignment of student achievement tests with state standards for learning that apply to all students. The No Child Left Behind Act, which reauthorized ESEA in 2001, strengthens these requirements and adds a requirement for testing of all students in grades 3-8 and one grade in the 10-12 grade span, by 2005-2006. The individual state profiles and trends in assessment results in the State Education Indicators report are useful for initial determinations of educational improvements that may be related to Title I programs. The 50-state matrix displays key indicators of state progress in developing accountability systems for Title I.

  1. Content Standards

    As of Spring 2002, 49 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had completed and implemented content standards for K-12 education in the core academic subjects of English/language arts and mathematics, and 46 states had completed and implemented standards for science and social studies/history. The No Child Left Behind Act requires that all states have content standards in mathematics, science, and English/language arts by the 2005-2006 school year.

  2. State Assessment Results reported by Proficiency Levels

    For the 1999-2000 school year, 42 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico reported state assessment results using three or more proficiency levels that were defined by the state. The matrix on the Standards and Assessments page identifies the name of each assessment instrument and the year in which the proficiency levels were set by the state.

  3. State Achievement Results Disaggregated

    A key feature of the 1994 reauthorization was a provision that assessment results be disaggregated by characteristics of schools and students. This requirement is retained in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The purpose of disaggregated results and reporting is to increase the possibility that educators and policymakers will analyze and improve the progress of learning through focusing on the students that are most in need of assistance. Under NCLB requirements, states are required by 2002-03 to disaggregate and report state assessment results by school and by students with families in poverty, student race/ethnicity, gender, and student status as disabled, limited-English proficient, and migratory. For the 1999-2000 school year, 40 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico reported assessment results using one or more disaggregated categories.

  4. Assessment Trends Analysis

    As of 1999-2000, 9 states had reported at least two years of assessment results using consistent assessments, levels, and grades; and 5 states reported three or more years of results that could be analyzed as trends.

Sample State Trends Analysis

The following is an example of trend analysis in student achievement using data from North Carolina's assessment program. This sample examines the extent of gains in language arts/reading and mathematics from 1997 to 2000 using consistent data from four years of assessment results, based on the same test with results reported by proficiency levels and disaggregated by school poverty level.

End of Grade Test--Grade 4
Reading Level 3 and higher
  1997 2000 Gain
All Students 68% 72% 4%
Students in High Poverty Schools 49% 54% 5%
Math Level 3 and higher
  1997 2000 Gain
All Students 75% 85% 10%
Students in High Poverty School 57% 73% 16%
Test-CRT; levels set in 1992
North Carolina Level 3: Students performing at this level consistently demonstrate mastery of grade level subject matter and skills and are well prepared for the next grade level.

In both Reading and Mathematics, a disparity in achievement is evident between schools with few low-income students and schools with many low-income students. For example, the average school has 85 percent of students above Level 3 in mathematics, while high-poverty schools have 73 percent above this level. Mathematics results have improved significantly since 1997 in high-poverty schools—a gain of 16 percentage points on Math Level 3 (i.e., proficient). Improvement in reading in high-poverty schools is also above the rate of improvement for all students.

Across all North Carolina elementary schools, nearly three-quarters of students are at or above the expected levels of performance in mathematics and reading. In schools with high concentrations of low-income children, over 70 percent of students are proficient in math and 54 percent of students are proficient in reading.

North Carolina's accountability system and levels have been in place since 1992. A small percentage of students were excluded from testing in grade 4 reading and math due to exemptions for disabilities and English proficiency.

The progress of North Carolina students in mathematics as measured on NAEP is consistent with the progress of students on the state assessment during the period 1996 to 2000. For example, the percentage of low-income fourth grade students at or above basic mathematics level on NAEP improved 16 percentage points over four years from 1996 to 2000 (from The Nation's Report Card: State Mathematics 2000, Report for North Carolina, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 2001). Mathematics gains in high poverty schools—those with at least 75% of students eligible for Title I assistance—on the state assessment showed a similar 16 percentage points gain at Level 3 from 1997 to 2000.

Uses of State Indicators

This report comes at an important time for states, schools, and students. Standards and assessments are at the center of education reform in the states and are a central focus of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Schools are working with Title I programs to develop new approaches to education for low-income and at-risk students. An important goal of these efforts is to close the gap in educational opportunity and student learning between poor and wealthier students. For anyone tracking information about student achievement in the states, State Education Indicators with a Focus on Title I can be a useful tool on several fronts:

Policy Information: This is the only published report that summarizes state assessment results by state using a common format and a consistent method of reporting scores over time. As states have met the Federal Title I requirements for reporting on student achievement, and prepare to meet the NCLB requirements, this report provides a central resource for examining trends in improvement of scores and reviewing differences in progress by student characteristics, such as school poverty level. The report also allows state policymakers to see the status of key indicators for comparable states in size, budget, and region. National policymakers have a convenient source for state-by-state statistics, outcomes, programs, and demographics, as well as national totals for comparison.

Data: The report has provided five years of consistent, reliable data on a range of indicators at the state level. The outcome is a convenient and comprehensive data source for research and analysis of achievement and other outcomes not only in relation to state program characteristics, such as per pupil expenditures and student:teacher ratio, but also to state demographic context characteristics, such as poverty level and parents' education. The on-line version of this publication allows for even further analysis: CCSSO is developing an electronic database that will provide users with the opportunity to access data by state or by variable to construct graphs or tables using additional statistical measures and policy variables.

Monitoring Accountability Systems: As states developed statewide accountability systems that went beyond the requirements for Title I under the 1994 ESEA law, State Education Indicators has tracked key information on the differences in definitions of accountability, types of indicators reported, and school and district objectives for improvement. Now, the NCLB Act requires that all states have accountability reporting for each school and district. In this and subsequent editions, State Education Indicators will continue to provide a snapshot of the state's development of accountability systems, focusing on key system characteristics such as adequate yearly progress (AYP) starting points, performance levels, objectives for improvement, additional indicators, and percent of students assessed.

State Education Indicators with a Focus on Title I can serve to provide convenient snapshots for policymakers, educators, business leaders, parents, and anyone in a state working toward increasing the achievement of all students. In addition, when considered in context with other factors, it can be a barometer of the success of statewide efforts to meet the goal of federal and state legislation and policies, which work together with the aim of ensuring that all children receive a high quality education. As states work to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind, later editions of State Education Indicators will be a useful tool in judging states' success.

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This page last modified—December 19, 2002 (jer).