Schools watch for standardized test results today

Tubman Middle School could be removed from the dreaded "needs improvement" list for the first time, but no one will be at the school to celebrate.

Principal Wayne Frazier said he hopes his school made adequate yearly progress as defined by No Child Left Behind, which would mean Tubman is no longer a "needs improvement" school. The school, however, has been closed and is being converted into an alternative education center.

"I'm very optimistic that we'll make it," Dr. Frazier said Monday.

He is among many educators, parents and schoolchildren anxiously awaiting the release of state test results -- a major factor in determining adequate yearly progress. That could come today, as the Georgia Department of Education is expected to release school-by-school results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, state standardized tests administered to children in first through eighth grades.

Department spokesman Dana Tofig said the accountability office has been receiving calls from local school officials who have found discrepancies in the unofficial results they have received.

"That's part of the reason this process takes so long," Mr. Tofig said. "There's certainly no conspiracy to keep results secret."

He said the department "releases information as quickly and as responsibly as possible."

Statewide results were made public June 5.

Once school-level CRCT scores are released, there will be another delay before progress results are known, Mr. Tofig said. He expects that information to be released by mid-July.

"With AYP, there's literally millions of pieces of information that must be put together," he said. "The worst thing would be to say a school didn't make AYP when it did."

Mr. Tofig said many school systems are calculating their own adequate yearly progress results, but he cautioned against doing that because of the sheer number of variables that go into the determination and the chances of making an error. He added that Georgia is one of the first states, if not the first, to release the results each year.

Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress two years in a row are put on the "needs improvement" list, and they must make adequate yearly progress two consecutive years to be removed.

Last year, Tubman made it for the first time since No Child Left Behind became law in 2002. The school hung a banner outside and celebrated its success.

"I'm not trying to make AYP based on whether the building will be open or not," Dr. Frazier said.

He said the important thing is that students and workers know of the progress.

Dr. Frazier, who is moving to Glenn Hills High School as principal, is unsure how Tubman officially fared but said he is sure that teachers and staff members provided a loving environment and saw their students grow academically, behaviorally and socially.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.