Special Education is target missed by most schools that fail to pass AYP assessments.
Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), all students must pass or show significant improvement on standardized tests for a school to meet its Average Yearly Progress (AYP) assessment. This includes students with limited English proficiency and those in special education.
If a Title 1 school, one that benefits from a federal program to help educate "at-risk" students, does not make AYP for two consecutive years, corrective action is required, often in the form of replacing staff or changing the curriculum. All public schools, as well as some private schools, are considered Title 1 schools.
In schools that do not make AYP in a single area, that target is most often special education.
While NCLB has led to a greater focus on the needs and achievement of special education and low socioeconomic status students, schools sometimes do not meet AYP requirements even when special education students make gains towards passing the required standardized tests.
The continued commonality of schools missing their target for special education has led many states and school districts to begin formulating alternative assessments and has implications for reform of NCLB in this election year.