The West Chester School District failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, on its PSSA tests for the 2011-12 school year.
The state uses AYP as a benchmark for districts as the federal government mandates under No Child Left Behind that every student in the district must be at proficient or better by 2014.
"The idea behind AYP is that schools need to have 100 percent of all students proficient, which is about the equivalent of a 'C' grade, or better by 2014," said district Director of Communications Robert Partridge.
Partridge added, "As we get closer to that 100 percent number, we're going to see even traditionally high-performing school districts fail across the state. We have one grade grade level in the district currently at 97 percent, but the subsets make the 100 percent target unreachable."
Not only must school districts meet a baseline to qualify for AYP, but certain demographics within the student population must also hit specific goals.
Also, an entire district fails AYP even if one school misses one of its targets. For example, Stetson Middle School made 24 of its 25 AYP goals, but because it missed one goal the entire school gets marked down as a failure.
As a whole, 13 of the 16 schools in the West Chester district made their AYP goals, and the district met 221 of it's 228 total goals.
The three schools that failed to make AYP were Stetson Middle School, Peirce Middle School and East High School.
Despite missing AYP, the West Chester school district is among one of the highest performing districts in the state.
Out of nearly 500 school districts in the state, West Chester ranked 52 in math and 19 in reading for the number of students that qualified as advanced on the PSSAs for the 2011-12 school year.
That puts the district in the top six percent in the state for math and the top four percent in reading.
Still, the district received a warning from the state for not making AYP.
"It puts our federal and state funding at risk," Partridge said. "But in some cases there was nothing the district could do."
Partridge said that one of the metrics the state uses for AYP is graduation rate. The district must have a certain percentage of the student body graduate in four years.
Partiridge added that this includes special education students.
According to Partridge, the state asks that all students graduate in four years, but some special education students have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that state a student can take five years to graduate.
The district must honor the IEP.
"The West Chester Area School District was in the top 10 percent in every category," Partridge said. "And we got an AYP warning despite that."
To browse the state's AYP report card for the entire district please click on the link: here.