University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

The Good, the Bad, and the 2012 Report Card on Arkansas Schools

In The View from the OEP on March 5, 2013 at 9:52 am

2012 Report Card on Arkansas Schools Cover PageFor the past five years, the OEP has released our annual Report Card on Arkansas Schools which presents a snapshot of student performance and school characteristics in Arkansas for a given year. Today, we are happy to release the 2012 Report Card on Arkansas Schools. There is some good news to report…and there is some evidence that we still have some areas in the state’s education on which we need to improve.

We’re happy to report the following good news:

  • In general, more Arkansas students are scoring at proficient or advanced on both the Benchmark and End-ofCourse state assessments each year. A general upward trend over the last several years continued into 2012. 
  • On average, Arkansas teachers earn comparable salaries to teachers in nearby states, and compared to the nation as a whole.
  • Arkansas has fewer 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool, but spends more money per-preschool-pupil than bordering states and the nation.
  • More Arkansans hold high school and college diplomas than ever before.

However, we note some areas for improvement:

  • On the nationally-normed Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), Arkansas student performance in math and literacy has remained stagnant or declined since 2005.
  • The achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students (by various measures) continues to be evident on the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).  It is consistent between 4th and 8th grades, but is generally smaller than the overall US achievement gap.
  • A relatively low number of Arkansas students are academically ready for college as measured by the 2012 administration of the ACT. Students’ college readiness is lower in Arkansas than in nearby states and in the nation.

Overall, there is progress to report, and we hope that the 2012 Report Card on Arkansas Schools provides a broad snapshot of that progress. However, we do not always presume that we are covering everything that our readers would like to see. If you have a suggestion regarding what we could include in next year’s Report Card, we would encourage you to leave us that suggestion in a Blog comment. Otherwise, we look forward to another year of progress in Arkansas schools!

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