Frequently Asked Questions about the Accountability Verification Process


Note.  New Accountability Status Reports for Verification correcting four errors in the previous reports were placed on the nySTART site on Friday, November 17. An explanation of the errors and a list of districts and schools for whom new reports were generated can be found at We have also found an error in adjusting the safe harbor targets.  This error is being corrected and new reports for affected districts and schools will be generated and placed on nySTART.  If your district or school used safe harbor to make adequate yearly progress (AYP), please be aware that the safe harbor target on your current report is too low.

Q1.     Why didn’t the Department use the 2005-06 safe harbor targets that were printed on the 2004-05 school report cards?

A1.     The safe harbor targets were adjusted to correspond with the new 2005-06 English language arts (ELA) and mathematics Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs). In 2004-05, there were separate AMOs for grade 4 and grade 8 in ELA and mathematics. In 2005-06, there is one AMO for ELA and one for mathematics covering grades 3-8. To create new 2005-06 AMOs, we determined the percentage of students in schools below the grades 4 and 8 AMOs in each subject.  Then we adjusted the AMOs to account for performance on the 2005-06 grades 3-8 ELA and mathematics assessments. Performance at grades 4 and 8 on the new ELA assessments was very similar to performance at those grades in 2004-05. The adjusted AMO for grades 3-8 ELA is 122, not far below the published 2005-06 AMO for grade 4 (138) and that for grade 8 (126). In mathematics, fewer students in grades 4 and 8 scored at Levels 3 or 4 in 2005-06 than in 2004-05. Therefore, the 2005-06 grades 3-8 mathematics AMO (86) is lower than the published 2005-06 AMOs for grade 4 and 8 mathematics, 149 and 105, respectively. The same percentages of students are in schools below the new 2005-06 AMOs as were in schools below the 2004-05 AMOs.

Q2.     How were the safe harbor targets adjusted for 2005-06?

A2.     A description of the process can be found at

Q3.     Why did I receive a "no entries" message when I tried to access the verification reports?

A3.     The first time someone tries to access the verification reports is the ONLY time this “No Entries” message will occur. The fix for now is to log off, close ALL browser windows, then log back in.

Q4.     Why can’t my nySTART staff-level users access the verification reports?

A4.     This feature has not yet been implemented as planned.  At this time, a user must have account administrator privileges to access the verification reports for the district or school. If the superintendent or principal wants a staff person without this level of authorization to access verification reports, he or she must issue that person a district or school account with account administrator privileges.

Q5.     A student with disabilities in my district was declassified in February.  Why is he on the student with disability list for mathematics?

A5.     Students who were classified as disabled at anytime during the 2005-06 school year are classified as disabled for all accountabilities subjects during that school year. On average, these declassified students are among the highest performing students in the group.  Therefore, in general, this rule will work to the advantage of school districts. Similarly, if a student was classified as limited English proficient at any time during the school year, he or she will be counted in that group for all accountability subjects.

Q6      Why are students with multiple disabilities not identified with their disability on the Student Detail Reports?

A6.     We have confirmed that these students are not missing from counts of students with disabilities but are merely lacking a proper descriptor in the "Disabled:" field on the Student Detail Reports. Students with other disability classifications show a descriptor for that disability in the "Disabled:" field (e.g., "Autism," etc.).  Students with "Multiple Disabilities" show a blank (no descriptor). The Grow Network is correcting this problem.

Q7.     Why are some of my limited English proficient (LEP) students not included in the LEP category?

A7.     To be counted in the LEP accountability group, the student must have both a LEP eligibility record and a LEP Duration (Years Enrolled in LEP instruction) record with a value of 0-9.

Q8.     Some LEP students who took the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) are counted as not tested.  Why?

A8.     For the NYSESLAT to be used as the accountability score, the student must not have taken the general ELA or the NYSAA in English, must have a LEP Duration less than five years, and have a valid NYSESLAT reading, writing, and listening score. Here is the table from the 2005-06 Data Standards Manual showing the correct coding for Years of Service.  This section from the Manual is attached.

Q9.     One student who was enrolled in my school for the complete 2005-06 school year does not show up as continuously enrolled. Why?

A9.     Check to see if this student has a valid score on the accountability measure for which he is not counted as continuously enrolled.  The continuously enrolled count is based on students whose scores will be used to determine the performance index.  If the student does not have a valid score for an accountability subject, they will not be listed as continuously enrolled for that subject.

Q10.   The title page of my district’s "Accountability Status Report for Verification" shows that the district has exceeded the one percent cap for NYSAA participation; that is, more than one percent of students counted in the performance index for the “All Students” group were students with Level 3 or 4 scores on the NYSAA. Therefore, the scores of some of these students will be reduced to Level 2.  How can I be sure that this reduction will not affect adequate yearly progress (AYP) for my district? 

A10.   Based on previous years’ experience, in most cases, this reduction does not affect AYP. You can determine the effect of the required reductions on the performance index for the district “All Students” group and “Students with Disabilities” group using the following calculation for each group: multiply the number of continuously enrolled tested students by the PI; subtract (100 x the number of students) to be reduced; and divide the result by the number of continuously enrolled tested students. For example, if your district has a PI of 118 with 50 continuously enrolled tested students and is required to reduce the number of NYSAA students scoring at Levels 3 or 4 by two students, the calculation is the following:

50 x 118 = 5,900

5,900 – 200 = 5,700

5,700 ¸ 50 = 114 (the new PI for the group)

Q11.   If my district must have scores reduced, how will the students be chosen?

A11.   The program will automatically select out-of-district students because these students will not affect the accountability status of any school in the district. If the number of students to be reduced exceeds the number of out-of-district students with NYSAA scores of Level 3 or 4, Department staff will select the remaining students to be reduced to minimize, if possible, the effect on AYP.

Q12.   Will reducing the score of a student affect the AYP status of the school in which the student is enrolled?

A12.   The one percent requirement applies to the district, not to the schools within the district. However, each selected student’s score must be reduced in every PI calculation in which it is used. If the selected student is enrolled in a district school, the reduction will affect the PI for each group of which the student is a member and may affect the school’s AYP status.

Q13.   If a student is selected, will that affect his school records?

A13.   No. The reduction is only for the purpose of calculating AYP and determining accountability status. It will not affect the student’s school records.

Q14.   Why does my report say that the AYP decision is “Pending”?

A14.   “Pending” is used when there is an insufficient count of students to make an AYP decision.  If the school has an accountability status at the secondary level assigned in September, that will be the school’s status.  If the school does not have an accountability status at the secondary level, its status will be judged using the “self-assessment” process. Some high schools received “Accountability Status Reports” because a few ungraded students took the grade 8 assessments.  In these cases, the status was listed as Pending.

Q15.   What does the "U" in the Safe Harbor column mean?

A15.   The U means that there were too few students in that group on the science measure to make an AYP decision for science.  The reports released on Friday November 17 changed the U to “Yes.”

Q16.   How is the total enrollment number derived?  I added up all the "All Students" enrollments for each building and the number did not agree with the District total enrollment number.

A16.   In addition to the students enrolled in district schools, the total enrollment for the district also includes students who are placed out of the district.

Q17.   Why does the total number of continuously enrolled students for math differ from the total for ELA?

A17.   Each participation enrollment is based on the number enrolled during that test administration.  Since tests are administered at different times of the year, you wouldn't expect the counts to match perfectly. For example, students who took the NYSESLAT may not have been enrolled during the general ELA test administration.




Years Enrolled in Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Instruction:

Description:  Indicates the number of full consecutive years a student has received LEP services.

Guidelines:  This data element is based on the beginning date of the student's latest period of continuous enrollment in LEP instruction in United States schools.


  • A LEP student may attend school in the United States, leave the country and not attend school in the United States for a full academic year, and subsequently re-enroll in a United States school.  In such cases, the enrollment date for determining the number of years in LEP instruction is based on the re-enrollment date.
  • Eligibility under the NYSESLAT is based on consecutive years of LEP instruction. 

Length:  2

Data Type:  Alphanumeric

Content Rules (Codes):  The following table shows how to determine the number of years to be reported.  This is based on the beginning date of the LEP student's latest period of continuous enrollment in United States schools.

Beginning Date of Latest

Period of Continuous Enrollment in a U.S. School, 


  (Not including Puerto Rico)

For these students, 2005-2006

is their -


Full Consecutive Years of LEP Instruction


Reference point:


administered in

2005-2006 -

After January 2, 2005

1st full year of LEP

0 *



January 3, 2004–January 2, 2005

2nd full year of LEP




January 3, 2003–January 2, 2004

3rd full year of LEP




January 3, 2002–January 2, 2003

4th full year of LEP



General English exam - unless granted exemption and NYSESLAT

January 3, 2001–January 2, 2002

5th full year of LEP



General English exam - unless granted exemption and NYSESLAT

January 3, 2000–January 2, 2001

6th full year of LEP



Must participate in General English exam and NYSESLAT

January 3, 1999–January 2, 2000

7th full year of LEP



Must participate in General English exam and NYSESLAT

* This is zero because these students most likely have not completed a full year's LEP. 

eScholar template number:  320/3090 – Student/Student-Lite

eScholar template field number:  42/17 – Duration of LEP/Duration of LEP