University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

“Grading” Northwest Arkansas: The 2012 Northwest Arkansas Report Card

In The View from the OEP on December 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

NWA_RC

Beginning with 2008, the OEP has been answering a charge from our constituents to publish an annual “report card” on Arkansas Schools. In these Report Cards, we highlight statewide performance on standardized tests, describe the post-secondary education landscape across the state, and also report school,  teacher, and community characteristics (i.e., teacher salaries, student demographics). After producing the first Arkansas Report Card in 2008, we were contacted by the Northwest Arkansas Council who suggested that we produce a similar report card for Northwest Arkansas Schools, as such a document could be beneficial to their mission. Thus, in 2009, we began producing a Northwest Arkansas Report Card at the NWA Council’s request. After years of soliciting suggestions for improving the Report Card, the Council came together with a more specific request regarding the 2012 Northwest Arkansas Report Card to feature more community highlights as they related to education. We were informed that this report card would be used to attract future residents of Northwest Arkansas to the area.

report cardToday we are releasing the 2012 Northwest Arkansas Report Card in a new, vibrant format (as compared to previous years). You can read more about the purpose of the Report Card in the NWA Council’s Press Release. We still include some of the standard information such as student performance on standardized tests, student and teacher demographics, and post-secondary indicators such as high school graduation rates. Further, we still present most of this information for each of the 15 traditional public school districts and two charter schools in Northwest Arkansas. However, new this year, we have included additional “community profile” variables such as higher education costs, financial aid awarded, degrees conferred, and NWA job market variables. For example, this year’s NWA Report Card includes data listing the average amount of financial aid awarded at each of the three major institutions of higher education (John Brown University, Northwest Arkansas Community College, & the University of Arkansas). We also include average ACT score, average high school GPA of enrollees, and freshman retention rates at these institutions. Also new this year are data highlighting the number of scholarships awarded to students at each higher education institution – and each NWA school district – through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

For those interested in some of the additional Northwest Arkansas community indicators, this year’s report card includes job-sector data such as the number of employees and average salary per occupation. We also present the number of degrees awarded by each of the three major higher education institutions according to each job sector highlighted.

We hope that the 2012 Northwest Arkansas Report Card contains helpful information. As always, we welcome your feedback (which you can leave in the comment box below). After all, it was community feedback that helped us include these new measures in the 2012 Northwest Arkansas Report Card.

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