PORTLAND (AP) – Parents and Maine school districts will have to wait a couple of weeks to learn which public schools are on the state’s annual list of those failing to make adequate progress.

The list, required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, is supposed to come out before the school year begins. The Maine Department of Education had set the end of August as a target date.

Maine Commissioner of Education Susan Gendron said the delay is due to some school systems having to manually compile data for new benchmarks the federal law requires this year. About 30 other states will have delayed lists, Gendron said.

The state list issued last October had 190 schools failing to make progress. State officials removed 48 within a week, but not before parents became upset.

This year, education officials say they have been working to verify data so the list will be problem-free.

Essentially, the list is based on students’ scores on the Maine Educational Assessment test, which is taken annually by students in grades four, eight and 11. Schools whose average scores fell below state standards made the list.

But last year, the law required the state to look at overall school scores as well as other indicators. For example, scores of students with limited English or special education needs had to meet certain levels or the whole school was deemed to be making insufficient progress.

This year, two a school’s graduation rate and its average daily attendance rate are being added as indicators, Gendron said. Some school districts had to manually collect that data, which has slowed the list.

Gendron said she can’t estimate how many Maine schools will be deemed to be making insufficient progress because the data is still being analyzed. School districts have said they cannot guess either because the process is so complex.

Tom Lafavore, director of educational planning for Portland, Maine’s largest school district with about 7,500 students, said there are many factors that can put a school on the list.

Lafovre said they range from how many students took the test – 95 percent of a school’s students must take it – to how various subgroups of students perform.

AP-ES-09-12-04 1640EDT



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