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English Language Learners

Guide to Understanding the 2006 Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) Reports

This document describes the methodology used to establish Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) based on Massachusetts English Proficiency Assessment (MEPA) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data from the 2005-06 school year.


Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that limited English proficient (LEP) students be assessed annually to measure both their progress toward English language proficiency and their attainment of English language proficiency. In 2005-2006, LEP students in grades 3~12 took both the MELA-O and the reading and writing components of MEPA tests (MEPA-R/W). MEPA for students in grades 3~12 comprises four different grade-span tests: Grades 3~4; Grades 5~6; Grades 7~8; and Grades 9~12.

MEPA is administered in both fall and spring of each academic year. All grade 3 LEP students, as well as students newly transferring into Massachusetts schools in grades 3~12, must participate in the fall MEPA tests in order to establish a baseline score. All LEP students in grades K~12 must participate in spring MEPA tests.

MEPA results are reported in four performance levels: Beginning; Early Intermediate; Intermediate; and Transitioning. Additionally, each of the first three performance levels on the MEPA has been divided into two performance level steps.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is required by Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to establish annual achievement objectives for the English language acquisition and academic achievement of LEP students. AMAOs are produced for students in grades 3~12, and comprise three categories: (1) progress toward acquiring English language proficiency; (2) attainment of English language proficiency; and (3) adequate yearly progress (AYP) of the LEP subgroup in both English Language Arts and in mathematics.

The Department generates AMAO reports for the State overall and for all districts receiving federal Title III funds.

2006 Progress Target

Progress determinations are based upon LEP students who participated in all portions of the MEPA examination in spring 2006 and who had a baseline performance level, either from fall 2005 or spring 2005.

For students whose baseline MEPA score is from the same grade-span test as in spring 2006, the Department has defined progress toward acquiring English language proficiency as advancing by two or more performance level steps on the MEPA. For students whose baseline MEPA score is from a different grade-span test than in spring 2006, progress is defined as advancing one or more steps. Students with baseline MEPA scores at the Transitioning level who also scored at Transitioning in Spring 2006 are also considered to have made progress.

The state target for 2006 is that fifty-five percent (55%) of LEP students will make progress toward acquiring English proficiency. District performance is measured against this target.

2006 Attainment Target

Attainment of English language proficiency is defined as scoring at the Transitioning level on MEPA. State data and research indicate that there are two distinct factors that most closely correlate with the likelihood that a student will reach the Transitioning level on the MEPA test by the end of a given year: (a) the number of years a student has been in U.S. schools; and (b), his or her English language proficiency at the start of that year (the student's "baseline" performance). Only students with complete MEPA results from spring 2006 and complete baseline results are included in these calculations.

Analysis of statewide data shows that the characteristics of the LEP student population, and therefore the two factors identified above, vary widely from district to district. Based on this distribution, the Department used statewide data to set individual 2006 attainment targets for each district based on the two factors.

A matrix showing the percentage targets for attainment, by years in U.S. and baseline performance, is below.

Years in USPerformance Level Step (2005 Baseline)
Year 20102540557085
Year 3051025406590
Year 400820356085
Year 5+55515255080

The target for each district is established by summing the targets in the matrix above. For example, we expect 25 percent of students in their 2nd year of U.S. schooling who scored at Step 3 in 2005 to reach Transitioning in 2006. Additionally, we expect 65 percent of students in their 3rd year of U.S. schooling who scored at Step 6 in 2005 to reach Transitioning in 2006 As a result, each district has a different target for its Year 2, Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5+ students for 2006. Targets will be reset each year depending on the composition of the LEP students served in the district.

This also means that a district whose Year 2 students were by-and-large very close to transitioning at the beginning of the year will have a much higher target than a district whose majority of Year 2 students was still in the Beginning or Early Intermediate levels.

LEP students in their 1st year of U.S. schooling are not included in the attainment target calculation.

AYP in English language arts and mathematics for LEP subgroup

To receive an affirmative AYP determination, a district must meet: 1) the 95% MCAS student participation requirement; 2) the 92% average attendance target or 1% attendance improvement; and either (3) the State's Cycle IV performance target for each subject or (4) the district's own Cycle IV improvement target. The Cycle IV performance targets are a Composite Performance Index (CPI) of 80.5 points for ELA and 68.7 for mathematics. The amount of CPI increase a district is expected to achieve during a particular rating cycle is based on the gap between that district's baseline CPI and a CPI of 100 (the year 2014 performance target for all Massachusetts schools and districts).

AYP determinations used in 2006 AMAO reports are based on results for LEP students in all grades combined (English language arts: grades 3, 4, 7, 10; mathematics: grades 4, 6, 8, 10).

Last Updated: February 14, 2007
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