The federal government has given Alabama a waiver that will make it easier for public schools to make a passing grade under the No Child Left Behind Act.
The U.S. Department of Education has allowed Alabama to freeze the requirements at the 2011. Normally the number of students needed to pass standardized tests to achieve adequate yearly progress goes up each year, but the waiver means the number of students in Alabama won't go up when Alabama's 2012 results are announced next month.
The U.S. Department of Education said Friday that Alabama is one of 26 states receiving a waiver from some part of the decade-old law while Congress works on reauthorizing it.
Alabama is moving toward measuring student achievement by tracking how much progress individual students make each year. The process, known as a growth model, is one reason the federal department cited forAlabama's waiver.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, Malissa Valdes-Hubert, told WBRC-TV that the waiver gives Alabama time to work on the new measurement, which was what state Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice wanted when he sought a waiver.
In a letter, the U.S. Department of Education said other reasons for the waiver for 2012 were the state's adoption of new college- and career-ready standards for reading and math, recognition that student achievement rates and graduation rates need to improve, and posting those rates on a website for public access.
But U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Deborah Delisle noted, "I do not anticipate granting an extension of this one-year waiver."
The No Child Left Behind Act, pushed by President George W. Bush, requires that 100 percent of students read and do math at grade level by 2014. Each year the number of students who must pass the test increases, and the number of schools meeting the standards declines.
Last August, Alabama announced that 72 percent of its 1,383 public schools made adequate yearly progress. That was down from 75 percent a year earlier.