Saturday, November 10, 2012

TOP STORY >> Area schools earn kudos

Leader staff writer

Arnold Drive Elementary, along with Cabot’s Stagecoach Elementary, Cabot Middle School South, and a number of Searcy schools received kudos for their Benchmark test scores in a just released University of Arkansas report.

After four months of reviewing the April 2012 math and literacy Benchmark scores, the university’s Office of Educational Policy named Arnold Drive’s fifth graders the third best in the state and the school’s fourth graders the sixth best in the state.

Researchers not only looked at the percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced, but assigned numerical scores to the categories to give an even clearer picture of how well a school was doing.

The university assigned a score of 4 to advanced scores, a 3 to proficient scores, a 2 to the basic category and a 1 to below basic scores.

According to the state 96 percent of Arnold Drive fifth graders are proficient or advanced in both math and literacy and tied with the top group in the state, Mount Pleasant Elementary in Melbourne. Looking at the numerical scores, Arnold Drive netted a “GPA” score of 3.77, just four-tenths below Mount Pleasant.

The Arnold Drive fifth graders were number one in the state and the central region based on just their literacy scores. All students scored either proficient or advanced and had a GPA of 3.92. The best GPA any school could have was a 4.00.

Arnold Drive third graders were 98 percent proficient or advanced in both math and literacy with a GPA score of 3.75. Tops in the state was Richland Elementary in West Memphis with its students 100 percent proficient or advanced and a GPA score of 3.91.

Fourth graders at Stage-coach Elementary were named fifth best in the state and second best in central Arkansas based on their math scores. According to the state, 98 percent of the students were proficient or advanced on the math portion of the Benchmark exams. The students had a GPA score of 3.76.

Based on its math scores, Stagecoach was the third best elementary school in central Arkansas.

At the middle school level, Cabot Middle School South and Ahlf Junior High Searcy tied for 12th best in the state based on their combined math and literacy Benchmark scores.

Both schools had 89 percent of students score proficient or advanced on both portions of the exams and had GPAs of 3.43.

The Cabot school was the third-best in central Arkansas in literacy achievement with a 91 percent proficiency rate and a GPA of 3.48.

Ahlf’s seventh graders were honored as fifth best in the state in literacy achievement by the researchers with a93 percent of the students scoring proficient or better and having a GPA of 3.56.

Ahlf, along with Searcy’s Southwest Middle School were ranked in the top schools in the northeast region of the state in literacy. Southwest was second in the region with a 90 percent proficient or better rating and a GPA of 3.48. Ahlf was right behind it with a higher proficient rate (91 percent), but a lower GPA (3.47).

Sidney Deener Elementary in Searcy was recognized by researchers as one of the top 25 performing “high-poverty” elementary schools in the state in math achievement. It ranked 14th with a math proficiency rate of 88 percent and a GPA of 3.52.

To calculate the GPA measurement, researchers used Benchmark scores similar to the existing grade-point average system high schools and colleges use. Researchers calculated the GPA measure for every school in the state for math, literacy and combined math and literacy scores.

The GPA measure is comprehensive in that it takes into account all of the test score levels (proficient, advanced, basic and below basic) instead of lumping together advanced and proficient scores as the state does.