University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

End-of-Course Exams (hot off the presses!)

In The View from the OEP on August 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Just in time for the new year, the End-of-Course Exam Scores are now posted.  The press release from the ADE, is slightly less optimistic than the last week’s benchmark exam press release in that it had both increases and decreases. You could “data dive” into the excel sheets for each test in each school in each district.  But, if you’d like the scores summarized by district in a single source, the fancy new OEP-EOC data resource hot off the press. In this single excel sheet,  you can find out all of the district information in one quick glance:

  • District Enrollment
  • Race data for each district
  • Poverty Data for each district
  • District Performance (both scaled scores and % of students in each performance category) on Algebra, Geometry, Literacy, and Biology
  • District GPA (this an OEP Special, to learn more about how we did this, check our explanation here)
Now, there are a few things we want to point out. If you want to see the raw data-in all its magnitude-you can do so by following these links: Algebra I Mid Year, Algebra I Spring, Geometry Mid-Year, Geometry Spring, Biology Mid-Year, Biology Spring and Grade 11 Literacy.
As you look at school by school scores, you may notice that Middle School students outperform Jr. High students who outperform High School students on the mathematics assessments.  Upon first glance, it might look like the longer a child is in school in Arkansas, the worse his or her scores are.  Fortunately, this is not the case and there is a good explanation for this phenomenon.
As it turns out, everyone at the High School level in Arkansas is required to take the End-of-Course Exams–ready or not. In other words, regardless of your academic goals and achievements, once you hit 11th grade, you’ll be taking these tests. However, at the Junior High level, it is only advanced students who take the EOC exams. It’s highly likely that the advanced kiddos are going to fare better in the EOC courses in the 8th or 9th grade — as compared to the struggling students who do not take these advanced courses until the 10th or 11th grade. And of course, it’s only the uber-advanced kids who take these exams in the middle school — so often the middle schools see upwards of 90% of their students scoring in the advanced range!  So what these counter-intuitive trends in scores tell us is actually what we already know: our advanced kids are pretty darn smart!
And while we are at it, our general population is still doing pretty good.  Again, if there are variables that you’d like us to add, or questions you’d like us to ask of these data, please let us know.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!
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