University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

OEP ‘Most-Improved Schools’ Awards

In The View from the OEP on October 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

MOST IMP science JPG


In this week’s blog, we shine the spotlight on the “Most-Improved Schools” in Science.  These are the schools that have shown the greatest growth in OEP’s GPA on the 5th and 7th Grade Benchmark Science and the End-of-Course (EOC) Biology exams. Award-winning improvement in science performance is occurring in every region of the state, and sixty-five schools are recognized for showing the largest gains.

What do we mean by growth?

The OEP calculates a GPA for schools in each subject based on the number of students that perform at each level on the specified exam.  A score of Advanced is assigned a “4”, Proficient a “3”, Basic a “2”, and Below Basic a “1”. This measure provides more information than “% Proficient” scores, and rewards schools for students scoring at all performance levels.

To construct a growth score that is less susceptible to the potential instability of year-to-year changes due to an abnormally high or low score, OEP used multi-year averages for both the beginning score and ending score over the five-year period.

The starting score is the average GPA from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years; and the ending score is the average GPA of the two most recent school years (2013-14 and 2014-15). Schools that did not exist in the 2009-10 or 2010-11 school years have not been included in this category of awards.

Statewide, 5th Grade Science GPA has grown +0.12 over the five year period, from 2.45 to 2.57.  There has been a decline in 7th Grade Science GPA, however, from 2.26 to 2.17 (-0.09).  Biology EOC performance has grown statewide by +0.17, with the average GPA increasing from 2.26 to 2.43 over the five-year period.

Special Recognitions

Special recognition goes out to Foreman High School of the Foreman District as the only school to receive more than one award in this category. Foreman High School is among the top 20 most-improved schools in both 7th Grade Science and EOC Biology. In the five-year period, student performance on 7th Grade Science increased from an average of 26% Proficient/ Advanced to an average of 50% Proficient/ Advanced, resulting in a GPA growth score of +0.42 (2.02→2.44).  In addition, student performance on EOC Biology increased from an average of 29% Proficient/ Advanced to an average of 64% Proficient/ Advanced, reflected by an impressive GPA growth score of +0.61 (2.13→2.73). Foreman High School was recognized in OEP’s High Achieving Schools report as a Top 20 High School in EOC Biology, and a Top 5 in the Southwest Region in 7th Grade Science.  Congratulations students and members of the Foreman staff for a job well done.

Springdale School District continues to shine as three Springdale schools are recognized among the most-improved Junior High schools in the state based on the EOC Biology exam. Over the five-year period, George Junior High moved from 67% to 89% of students scoring Proficient/ Advanced, and received a GPA growth score of +0.67, from 2.79 to 3.46.  This GPA increase is over twice the increase seen statewide (+ 0.29). Southwest Junior High moved from 72% to 89% of students scoring Proficient/ Advanced, and received a GPA growth score of +0.39, from 2.87 to 3.27. Central Junior High is very high performing on the EOC Biology, starting with 90% and moving to 91% of students scoring Proficient/ Advanced.  Although this is a slight change in the % Proficient, improved student performance is evidenced by the increase in the average GPA from 3.15 to 3.38 (+0.23).  These Springdale schools were previously recognized for Top 5 Junior High Schools for EOC Biology performance (Southwest and Central) and for Top 5 High Poverty Schools for EOC Biology (Southwest and George). Congratulations Springdale School District for a job well done!

Most-Improved Schools

Des Arc Elementary showed the greatest improvement on the 5th Grade Benchmark Science exam. The percent of students scoring Proficient/ Advanced increased from 34% to 90%!  Average GPA increased +1.12, from 2.21 to 3.33, in comparison to a +0.12 growth statewide.

Berryville Middle demonstrated the greatest improvement on the 7th Grade Benchmark Science exam. The total number of Proficient/ Advanced students at Berryville Middle School has doubled in the five-year period: from an average of 40% students in this category to 76%. GPA grew from 2.31 to 3.06, for an increase of +0.75, compared to the statewide GPA decline from 2.26 to 2.17.

Greenbrier High is the most improved high school based on the EOC Biology exam. There was a significant increase in the number of students scoring Proficient/ Advanced, from 50% to 80% of students.  Average GPA increased from 2.46 to 3.16 for an overall change of +0.69, compared to +0.17 statewide.

George Junior High showed the most improvement among the junior high schools that took the EOC Biology exam. As highlighted under Springdale’s achievement in an earlier section of this post, GJH increased proficiency rates by 22 points and increased GPA by more than double the statewide trend.

Congratulations to students and staff for a job well done!

This is the final report of this year’s OEP Science awards and we are pleased to highlight these schools supporting student success!  OEP will highlight school performance in ELA and math after PARCC scores are released later this fall.

Check our site for more information about how schools in Arkansas are performing and other issues related to education.

%d bloggers like this: