Friday, September 18, 2015

TOP STORY>> Cabot outscores PCSSD on test

Leader staff writer

Cabot first graders are slightly above average and Pulaski County Special School District first graders fall below average, according to the Iowa Test of Basics the student took at the end of last year.

Districts are still waiting for the results of the first-ever online PARCC exam, which replaced the Benchmark exam, but has now itself been replaced by another computerized test, the ACT Aspire.

Part of the reason for moving to computerized testing was to get the results back quicker. The paper-pencil Benchmark exam scores were usually ready in mid-summer, but here it is closing in on October and the results still aren’t available.

Results from the Iowa exam, given to first and second graders, come back in a multitude of formats from scaled scores to class equivalency to national rankings.

The results reported here are based on the national percentile rankings.

If a student has a national percentile of 60 percent that means that child outperformed 60 percent of students across the nation on that test while 40 percent bested that student.

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills tests students reading, vocabulary, and language and math skills and then gives a composite score.

Based on the scores, state first graders are slightly below average with a composite score in the 49 percentile, meaning more students across the nation scored better than Arkansas students.

But there were positive exceptions.

Mountain Springs Elementary in Cabot had a percentile ranking of 64 percent and the district’s Southside Elementary was 63 percent. Searcy’s Westside Elementary was also in the 63rd percentile.

On the other end of the spectrum Pinewood Elementary had a composite score of 27and Murrell Taylor elementary first graders had an NPR of 29, meaning about 3 out of every 4 students across the country outperformed them.

None of the charter schools in the area fared well on the test.

The schools use the information from the tests to help them determine strengths and weaknesses in the students and in the instruction.

Here is a school-by-school look at the first grade scores.

First-graders at Lonoke Primary had a composite score of vocabulary, reading, language and math that put them in the 32nd percentile.

England Elementary students finished in the 51 percentile, while first graders at Carlisle Elementary were in the 34th percentile.

The average for Cabot, as a district, was the 53rd percentile; meaning Cabot students slightly scored half the students across the nation.

Ward Central had a composite ranking in the 41st percentile, but Westside was up to the 51st percentile. Central Elementary first graders were in the 44th percentile and Eastside students hit the 56th percentile.

Mountain Springs students had some of the best scores in central Arkansas, finishing with a composite ranking in the 64th percentile, meaning they outscored everyone else 6.4 out of 10 times.

Magness Creek was at the 58th percentile, Northside had a ranking in the 56th percentile, and Southside was in the 63rd percentile, all above average. But Stagecoach Elementary students fell below average with a score in the 45th percentile.

PCSSD first graders, as a district were in the 42nd percentile ranking, meaning slightly more than half the students around the country beat them on the test.

Bayou Meto Elementary students had a composite ranking in the 55th percentile and Arnold Drive was right in the middle with a 50th percentile ranking.

Cato Elementary was only in the 30th percentile ranking, which means about 2 out three students nationally outscored them. Clinton Elementary was in the 35th percentile, Sylvan Hills Elementary fell to the 28th percentile and Tolleson was at 44.

Dupree Elementary first graders had a composite ranking in the 42nd percentile while Murrell Taylor was at 29 and Pinewood in the 22nd percentile.

Oakbrook Elementary students hit the 45th percentile mark, but Sherwood Elementary has just at 34. Harris Elementary was slightly higher, finishing in the 36th percentile.

Beebe’s Early Childhood first graders finished in the 54th percentile.

Searcy’s Westside Elementary first graders were in the 63rd percentile; McRae students and Sidney Deener students had a ranking in the 41st percentile.

Lisa Academy North first graders were in the 36th percentile and Jacksonville Lighthouse was one point less at the 35th percentile.