More Arizona schools received passing marks this year under a federal labeling system that carries harsh consequences for failure.
Statewide, about 82 percent of the state's district and charter schools made adequate yearly progress in 2004 under the federal No Child Left Behind law. In 2003, only 76 percent of Arizona schools achieved this mark.
In 2003, about 40 East Valley district schools and several charter schools failed the federal standard. The state will release 2004 federal labels today for individual schools.
Schools that receive federal money to educate children from low-income homes face the most serious consequences if they fail to make sufficient progress two years in a row.
Schools in that situation must develop improvement plans and then, if progress is not made, they must provide transportation for students to attend other schools if the students choose.
The No Child Left Behind law measures yearly progress in Arizona using data from the state's high-stakes graduation test, Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards.
The federal law also requires that 95 percent of students in every demographic subgroup at a school take AIMS. If too many students are absent on test day in any subgroup, a school would not make adequate yearly progress no matter how well other students perform on the test.
The Arizona Department of Education will release its own set of school-by-school labels on Oct. 15. Tom Horne, state superintendent of public instruction, said the state labels — which tag schools as excelling, highly performing, performing or underperforming — provide a more accurate picture of how a school is doing academically than the federal results that will be released today.