October 15, 2012
Dear Parents and Interested Citizens:
As many of you know, testing
and accountability have become very important in schools in the
21st century. Educators and stakeholders may have
differing opinions as to the amount of testing and what the
results say, but by in large, our schools and our school system
are judged, at least in part, by our students’ performance on
tests. This accountability is an “alphabet soup” of terms and
formulas that many do not understand, so some clarification may
help them understand just what all the scores mean.
There are two major types of
accountability: Federal and State. Federal accountability, also
known as Annual Measurable Objectives and its acronym AMOs,
divides a school into different subgroups. Subgroups include:
School as a Whole, White, Black, Hispanic, Native American,
Asian, Multiracial, Economically Disadvantaged Students, Limited
English Proficient Students, and Students with Disabilities.
Each subgroup has a target goal (a number of students that must
“pass the test”) that must be met. If all the subgroups meet
their goals and 95% percent of the students are tested, then
that school makes AMOs (Annual Measurable Objectives). A few
things to note about AMOs: First, only students in grades 3-8
and 10th grade are considered when establishing AMOs.
AMOs do help ensure that all students are being moved forward,
and helps educators focus on groups that need assistance. One
particular frustration about AMOs I hear expressed often is that
failure to meet even one goal prevents a school from making AYP.
While looking at whether or not a school made AMOs, one should
pay close attention to the number of accomplished goals. AMO
results for Columbus County Schools are available at
The second type of
accountability is the state “ABC” model. This model, while also
very complicated, is based on proficiency (reaching level 3 or
4) on all End of Grade (EOG) tests or End of Course (EOC). The
primary differences between the AMOs and ABC model are 1.
student proficiency is considered independent of “subgroups”,
and 2. on the high school level AMOs include only Algebra I and
English I, whereas the ABC model includes Algebra I, English I
accountability are important, because they provide common ground
for improvement. We only become great; however, when we ensure
each and every child reaches his or her full potential inside
and out of the classroom, as students and as human beings. Our
parents, community members, business partners and our
faith-based organizations are an essential part of educating the
whole child. I believe that if we work together and put our
children first, our students and schools will continue moving
from “good to great”.