The press release at the Newburgh Schools site about improving ELA results contains this gem:
The accountability system, which results from federal “No Child Left Behind” legislation, requires school districts across the country to assess their students in grades 3-8 and at the high school level yearly in mathematics and English Language Arts and to rate them according to Performance Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 with 4 representing advanced proficiency (85-100), 3 representing proficiency (65-84), 2 representing basic proficiency (55-64), and 1 representing basic performance (0-54). Performance Levels 1 and 2 indicate unacceptable performance.
That can't possibly be right can it? "Basic proficiency" used as a label for what old-timers would call a failing grade, for performance which NCLB categorizes "unacceptable".
According to the Accountability Peer Review document submitted by New York State Education Department and available from the federal Department of Education it is indeed possible:
The State has also defined an additional level of achievement: basic proficiency. Basic proficiency is defined as the performance of a student who scores Level 2 on the State assessments in grades 3-8 English language arts, mathematics; or scores Level 2 on a State alternate assessment; or for certain Limited English Proficient (LEP) students grades 3-8 shows Level 2 growth on the NYSESLAT; or scores between 55 and 64 on the Regents comprehensive examination in English or a Regents mathematics examination; or 65 or greater on a Regents competency test.
That about destroys any meaning "proficiency" once had.