More state schools fall below federal benchmark

CARSON CITY -- More Nevada schools failed to make adequate yearly progress in 2010 than the year before, the state Department of Education said Monday.

Of the state's 678 public schools, 347 failed to meet annual yearly progress as required by the No Child Left Behind Act, the department said in its annual achievement report. Of those, 138 are on a "watch list," meaning they have a year to improve to avoid being labeled as in need of improvement.

On the positive side, 46 schools were designated as "high achieving," and nine were given the highest designation of being "exemplary," the report said

School performance is based on test scores of various student groups. If one of the subgroups doesn't meet the goals, the entire school is listed as not having made adequate yearly progress, or AYP.

In the Clark County School District, 215 schools failed to show adequate yearly progress and 152 schools met requirements.

Education officials said achievement targets were raised this year as schools approach federally mandated 100 percent proficiency by 2013.

"Budget cuts and the significantly higher targets took its toll on the elementary and middle schools within each district in attempting to achieve the expected AYP requirements," the department said.

The percentage of students expected to perform at target levels increased, said Gloria Dopf, state deputy superintendent. At elementary grades, the target proficiency in English rose last year to 64 percent of students, up from 52 percent the year before. For math, it went to 66 percent from 55 percent.

The report said 45 percent of elementary schools and 37 percent of middle schools met adequate achievement requirements, while 72 percent of high schools were in compliance, up from 61 percent the previous year.

Dopf said high school achievement is based on meeting targets for English and math proficiency, as well as graduation rates. Statewide, the graduation rate rose to 71 percent this year, up from 69 percent the year before. The requirement jumps to 85 percent next year.

Detailed reports on each district and individual schools are available online at

Las Vegas Review-Journal writer James Haug contributed to this report.