University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

OEP ‘Beating the Odds’ Awards

In The View from the OEP on September 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

Achievement Award_BTO in Science JPEGIn last week’s blog post, the OEP launched this year’s Outstanding Educational Performance Awards (also known as the OEP Awards), highlighting for the first time High Achieving schools in Science. This week we are awarding schools that are “Beating the Odds”, putting the spotlight on schools that serve low-income communities and are high-achieving in science.  Only schools where at least 66% of students participate in the free/reduced lunch program are considered for this award, and the achievement of these schools are again based in the 2014-15 Benchmark Science examination at the 5th and 7th grade level, and the EOC Biology exam.

Thirty-four schools were awarded for “Beating the Odds”, and twenty-two of them stem from the Northwest region of the state.
Springdale School District deserves a special mention as four of its schools have been deemed high-achieving schools in this category, ranking in the top 10 statewide in both the 7th grade Benchmark Science exam and the EOC Biology exam. Southwest Junior High has performed exceptionally well this year. Not only has it been ranked among the top ranking junior high schools in this category, but at 96% of students performing proficient/advanced in Biology it has been ranked the second high-achieving junior high school in EOC Biology even though 67% of students are enrolled in the free/reduced lunch program. Congratulations go out to you!

Norfork High School has also performed well this year as it has been ranked one of the top ten in the 7th grade Benchmark Science exam and the EOC Biology exam in this category. Norfork high has also been among the top 25 high-achieving high schools, despite the fact that 81% of its students participate in free/reduced lunch.

“Beating the Odds” schools

The highest achieving school in 5th grade benchmark science serving low-income communities is Alpena Elementary School in Alpena School District. A whopping 94% percent (vs 60% statewide) of students scored Proficient or Advanced (vs 60% statewide) with a school science GPA of 3.43.

The highest achieving school in the 7th grade benchmark science serving low-income communities is Atkins Middle School in Atkins School District. Fifty-nine percent of students scored Proficient/ Advanced (vs 34% statewide) with a school science GPA of 2.65.

The highest achieving high school in EOC Biology serving low-income communities is Des Arc High School in Des Arc School District. Fifty-nine percent of its students fall in the Proficient/ Advanced category with a school science GPA of 2.75.

The highest achieving junior high school in EOC Biology serving low-income communities is Southwest Jr. High School. Ninety-six percent (96%) of Southwest’s students scored Proficient/ Advanced, with an overall school science GPA of 3.40.

Congratulations go out to all of you for “Beating the Odds” and doing a job well done.  This is particularly impressive given that Science scores are not used in accountability determinations, and yet these schools continue to support high achievement for their students.

We at the OEP recognize that schools serving communities where students face academic challenges often receive lower proficiency rates performance on statewide examinations. This edition of the OEP awards is of great value to us as it gives us the opportunity to recognize schools that overcome those obstacles and succeed. It is our honor to esteem them and again offer our congratulations!

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