Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  

English Language Learners

Guide to Understanding the 2007 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 2006-07 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.

2007 Progress Target

Progress determinations are based on LEP students who participated in all portions of the MEPA examination in spring 2007 and who had a baseline performance level, either from spring 2006 or fall 2006.

For students whose baseline MEPA score is from the same grade-span test as in spring 2007, 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 2007, progress is defined as advancing one or more steps. Students with baseline MEPA scores at the Transitioning level who again scored at Transitioning in spring 2007 are also considered to have made progress.

The state target for 2007 is that sixty percent (60%) of LEP students will make progress toward acquiring English proficiency. District performance is measured against this target.

2007 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 2007 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 2007 attainment targets for each district based on the two factors.

A matrix displaying the 2007 percentage targets for attainment, by years in U.S. and baseline performance, is below.

Years in USPerformance Level Step (2006 Baseline)
Year 20102030557090
Year 3031020406585
Year 403510356080
Year 5+03510255075

For example, our target is that 20 percent of students in their 2nd year of U.S. schooling who scored at Step 3 in 2006 to reach Transitioning in 2007. Additionally, our target is that 65 percent of students in their 3rd year of U.S. schooling who scored at Step 6 in 2006 to reach Transitioning in 2007.

Because the composition of each district's LEP population is different, each district has a different target for its Year 2, Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5+ students. Individual district targets are established by multiplying the number of district students at each baseline performance level step by the state targets for attainment in the matrix above and combining the individual year in U.S. targets. Targets are reset each year depending on the composition of the LEP students served. LEP students in their 1st year of U.S. schooling are not included in the attainment target calculation.

Through this approach, 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. A district must meet its overall target and at least half of its individual year targets to receive a positive AMAO determination for Attainment.

AYP in English language arts and mathematics for LEP subgroup

To receive an affirmative Adequate Yearly Progress (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 2007 performance target for each subject or (4) the district's own 2007 improvement target. The 2007 performance targets are a Composite Performance Index (CPI) of 85.4 points for ELA and 76.5 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 2007 AMAO reports are based on results for LEP students in all grades combined (English language arts and mathematics: grades 3-8 & 10).

Last Updated: November 28, 2007
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search·Public Records Requests · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact DESE