University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Archive for 2018|Yearly archive page

Beating the Odds: High Achieving schools serving Low-Income Populations

In The View from the OEP on December 5, 2018 at 11:36 am

We are so excited to release our “Beating the Odds” Outstanding Educational Performance Awards  for 2018!  These special OEP awards are for schools whose students are demonstrating high academic growth despite serving a population where at least 66% of the students participate in the Free/ Reduced Lunch Program, which is based on low household income.  Schools serving such student populations often struggle to demonstrate high academic achievement, and subsequently receive lower letter grades.

Academic growth, however, is less correlated with school poverty rates and we think it is a better reflection of how the school is impacting students. Growth is calculated at the student level, and essentially reflects how much a student has improved his or her score from the prior year compared to what was predicted based on prior achievement history.While poverty can negatively impact student success, the schools awarded today demonstrate that their students are “Beating the Odds”  The highlights are below, and you can read the full report here.

The OEP Awards highlight schools in Arkansas based on student growth on the ACT Aspire exams in Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). We choose to give OEP Awards based on student growth because we think it is the best indicator of how the school is impacting students’ learning.

Although school-level growth scores are much less related to the percentage of students at a school who are participating in Free/Reduced Lunch than achievement scores, a negative correlation does exist (-0.24).  This means that students at schools serving higher poverty populations are more likely than their peers at more affluent schools to demonstrate less academic growth than predicted. As can be seen in the scatter plot below, schools with higher FRL rates are more likely to receive lower growth scores.

Figure 1. Combined Content Growth Score by School % FRL, Arkansas Public Schools, 2018

f1_BTO

If we limit the plot to only those schools with at least 66% of students participating in FRL, as presented in Figure 2, the relationship between poverty and growth essentially disappears. Although all of these schools are serving high poverty populations, there is wide variation in the amount of academic growth that students at the schools are demonstrating.

Figure 2. Combined Content Growth Score by School % FRL, High-Poverty Arkansas Public Schools, 2018

f2_BTO

We celebrate the state using this student-level growth model, and are pleased to be able to highlight how students are growing academically in schools across the state.  We hope that drawing attention to this growth information will spark discussions among stakeholders about the ways to ensure that all schools are growing the knowledge of Arkansas’ students.


“Beating the Odds” Elementary Level Schools

The top “Beating the Odds” elementary school overall is Crawford Elementary from Russellville School District.  Despite serving a student population that is 89% eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch, Crawford Elementary students are among the top 5 schools that have demonstrated the greatest growth in the state on the ACT Aspire. Many of these top 10 Beating the Odds schools were also among the high growth elementary schools in the state, regardless of student demographics. The top 10 elementary schools that are beating the odds are:

  1. Crawford Elementary, Russellville SD (89% FRL)
  2. Bismarck Elementary, Bismarck SD (71% FRL)
  3. Oscar Hamilton Elementary, Foreman SD (75% FRL)
  4. Parson Hills Elementary, Springdale SD (96% FRL)
  5. John Tyson Elementary, Springdale SD (78% FRL)
  6. Cross County Elementary Tech Academy, Cross County SD (73% FRL)
  7. Des Arc Elementary, Des Arc SD (69% FRL)
  8. Monitor Elementary, Springdale SD (85% FRL)
  9. Sonora Elementary, Springdale SD (74% FRL)
  10. Green Forest Elementary, Green Forest SD (85% FRL)

You can find the top BTO elementary schools by subject and region in the full report.


“Beating the Odds” Middle Level Schools

Oak Grove Middle from Paragould School District is the top middle school beating the odds overall. Oak Grove Middle serves a 5th-6th grade student population where 76% of students are eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch, and was among the high growth middle schools in the state, regardless of student demographics.  The top 10 middle schools that are beating the odds are:

  1. Oak Grove Middle, Paragould SD (76% FRL)
  2. Paragould Junior High, Paragould SD (71% FRL)
  3. Cedarville Middle, Cedarville SD (74% FRL)
  4. Pleasant View Campus, Mulberry/Pleasant View Bi-County Schools SD (77% FRL)
  5. Helen Tyson Middle, Springdale SD (76% FRL)
  6. Butterfield Trail Middle, Van Buren SD (71% FRL)
  7. Beryl Henry Upper Elementary, Hope SD (89% FRL)
  8. O. Kelly Middle, Springdale SD (90% FRL)
  9. Little Rock Prep Academy Middle, Little Rock Preparatory Academy (76% FRL)
  10. Mansfield Middle, Mansfield SD (69% FRL)

You can find the top BTO middle schools by subject and region in the full report.


“Beating the Odds” High Schools

The top high school beating the odds is Danville High in Danville School District.  Despite serving a student population that is 70% eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch, it is also among OEP’s top 20 high growth high schools throughout the state.  Danville High students are demonstrating that they can achieve at levels similar to students who come from higher income communities. The top 10 high schools that are beating the odds are:

  1. Danville High, Danville SD (70% FRL)
  2. Western Yell Co. High, Western Yell County SD (85% FRL)
  3. Cross County High A New Tech, Cross County SD (73% FRL)
  4. Trumann High, Trumann SD (70% FRL)
  5. Shirley High, Shirley SD (81% FRL)
  6. Gosnell High, Gosnell SD (74% FRL)
  7. Des Arc High, Des Arc SD (67% FRL)
  8. Izard Co. Cons. High, Izard County Consolidated SD (70% FRL)
  9. Cave City High Career & Collegiate Preparatory, Cave City SD (79% FRL)
  10. Maynard High, Maynard SD (70% FRL)
  11. Southwest Junior High, Springdale SD (71% FRL)

You can find the top BTO high schools by subject and region in the full report.

Congratulations to all the OEP “Beating the Odds” award winners! 

Keep up the great work and we look forward to recognizing you again next year!


How are OEP awards different?

There are many lists of “Best Schools”, so why is the OEP’s list special?  It’s simple- we use the most recent assessment data and focus on student growth.  We examine growth specifically by content area because we think it is important to examine each subject separately and without including the English Proficiency progress for English Language Learners (which should also be examined separately).  Another difference is that unlike the state performance awards that were given out a few weeks ago, OEP awards are grouped by school level (Elementary, Middle, and High) and by Region (Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southwest, and Southeast).

We celebrate two types of schools this year: “High-Growth” and “Beating the Odds”.  High Growth schools are those whose students demonstrated the highest growth on the ACT Aspire tests, and “Beating the Odds” are the highest growth schools serving low-income communities.

Today’s awards for schools “Beating the Odds” are based on the growth of students on the ACT Aspire Math and English Language Arts assessments.

 

 

Outstanding Educational Performance: High Growth High Schools

In The View from the OEP on November 28, 2018 at 9:41 am

Today’s 2017-18 Outstanding Educational Performance Awards (also known as the OEP Awards) are for High Growth High Schools.   Similar to last year, these awards are based on student growth on the ACT Aspire exams in Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). Growth is calculated at the student level, and essentially reflects how much a student has improved his or her score from the prior year compared to what was predicted based on prior achievement history.

After Sunday’s Democrat Gazette article about school letter grades we were asked,

Can schools with high achievement really make growth?”

Today’s list speaks directly to this question.  More than half of the high school receiving OEP awards for growth were also in the top 10% of high schools for achievement.  High achieving schools should worry about growth because if their students aren’t making growth- they are falling behind their peers across the state.

We choose to give OEP Awards based on student growth because we think it is a better reflection of how the school is impacting students rather than proficiency rates.  Proficiency rates, even those that move beyond the ‘percent proficient’ like our OEP GPA and Arkansas’ weighted achievement score, are more correlated with student demographics than growth scores. This means that schools are equally as likely to demonstrate high student growth regardless of the characteristics of the students that they serve.


Highest Growth: High School Level

The top High School level school for overall student growth is LISA Academy North High for the second year in a row, with a growth score of 86.63.  Haas Hall Academy at the Lanes had the highest math growth with a score of 88.05, while Washington Academy from Texarkana School District had the highest growth in ELA at 85.95.

The top 20 High School level schools for overall content growth are:

  1. LISA Academy North High Charter School, LISA Academy (40% FRL)*
  2. Southside Charter High School, Southside SD (Independence) (51% FRL)*
  3. Van Buren Freshman Academy, Van Buren SD (57% FRL)*
  4. Haas Hall Academy At The Lane, Haas Hall Academy (3% FRL)
  5. Haas Hall Academy Jones Center, Haas Hall Academy (0% FRL)
  6. Washington Academy, Texarkana SD (56% FRL)
  7. Eureka Springs High School, Eureka Springs SD (48% FRL)*
  8. Greenbrier Junior High School, Greenbrier SD (35% FRL)*
  9. South Side High School, South Side SD (Van Buren) (57% FRL)
  10. Haas Hall Academy Bentonville, Haas Hall Bentonville (0% FRL)*
  11. Danville High School, Danville SD (70% FRL)*
  12. Dardanelle High School, Dardanelle SD (62% FRL)
  13. Greenwood Freshman Center, Greenwood SD (27% FRL)
  14. Haas Hall Academy, Haas Hall Academy (0% FRL)*
  15. Russellville Jr. High School, Russellville SD (53% FRL)*
  16. Ouachita High School, Ouachita SD (47% FRL)
  17. Hazen High School, Hazen SD (62% FRL)
  18. Arkansas Arts Academy High School, Arkansas Arts Academy (20% FRL)*
  19. Arkansas High School, Texarkana SD (60% FRL)
  20. Concord High School, Concord SD (63% FRL)

*Schools with an asterisk were also on the top 20 list last year! Half of the schools on our list demonstrate that high growth can be achieved year after year. These are schools that are consistently growing student’s academic performance more than would be expected. Excellent Job!!

A variety of schools have shown high growth when observed through the lens of the percentage of students served Free/Reduced Lunch. The proportion of students eligible for FRL among these high-growth schools ranges from a low of 0% to a high of 70%, reflecting how growth is possible for all types of schools!

You can find the high schools with the greatest student growth by subject and region in the full report.

———Stay tuned to learn about more OEP Award Winners!——–

Next week we will release the list of high growth schools serving high poverty populations, those who are “Beating the Odds!”


About OEP Awards:

OEP Awards are different than other awards because we examine growth specifically by content area. We do this because we think it is important to examine each subject separately, as just looking at the combined growth doesn’t provide school leaders with the information that they need. For example, learning that growth in Math is high, but growth in ELA is lagging would provide valuable information about the effectiveness of each program. We limit the growth score to just subject areas, without including the English Proficiency progress for English Language Learners, because this should also be examined separately.  Another difference is that unlike the state performance awards that were given out a few weeks ago, OEP awards for High Schools do not include graduation rate in the growth calculation.  In addition, OEP’s awards are grouped by school level (Elementary, Middle, and High) and by Region (Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southwest, and Southeast).

Overall content growth scores have a mean of 80, and range from 72.4 to 91.6 at the high school level, although when Math and ELA are examined separately, the range increases somewhat (68.5 to 91.6).  Understanding the range of scores is important because small point differences in growth scores can indicate large differences in growth rates – as the standard deviation is only 2.4 points for high schools. 

We celebrate the state using this student-level growth model, and are pleased to be able to highlight how students are growing academically in schools across the state.  We hope that drawing attention to the growth information will spark discussions among stakeholders about how to ensure all schools are growing the knowledge of Arkansas students.

We celebrate two types of schools: “High-Growth” and “Beating the Odds”.  High Growth schools are those whose students demonstrated the highest growth on the ACT Aspire tests, and “Beating the Odds” are the highest growth schools serving low-income communities.

Outstanding Educational Performance: High Growth Middle Schools

In The View from the OEP on November 14, 2018 at 12:31 pm

Today’s 2017-18 Outstanding Educational Performance Awards (also known as the OEP Awards) are for High Growth middle schools. These awards are based on student growth on the ACT Aspire exams in Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). Growth is calculated at the student level, and essentially reflects how much a student has improved his or her score from the prior year compared to what was predicted based on prior achievement history.

OEP Awards are different than other awards because we examine growth specifically by content area.  We do this because we think it is important to examine each subject separately and without including the English Proficiency progress for English Language Learners (which should also be examined separately).

We celebrate the state using this student-level growth model, and are pleased to be able to highlight how students are growing academically in middle schools across the state. We hope that drawing attention to the growth information will spark discussions among stakeholders about how to ensure all schools are growing the knowledge of Arkansas students.

We give OEP Awards based on student growth because we think it is a better reflection of how the school is impacting students rather than proficiency rates. Proficiency rates, even those that move beyond the ‘percent proficient’ like our OEP GPA and Arkansas’ weighted achievement score, are more correlated with student demographics than growth scores. This means that schools are equally as likely to demonstrate high student growth regardless of the characteristics of the students that they serve.

We celebrate two types of schools this year: “High-Growth” and “Beating the Odds”. High Growth schools are those whose students demonstrated the highest growth on the ACT Aspire tests, and “Beating the Odds” are the highest growth schools serving low-income communities.

Highest Growth: Middle Level

The top middle level school for overall student growth is Heber Springs Middle from Herber Springs School District, with a growth score of 86.35. Paragould Junior High from Paragould School District had the highest Math growth with a score of 88.75, while Pleasant View Campus had the highest growth in ELA at 86.65.

The top 20 middle level schools for overall content growth are:

  1. Heber Springs Middle, Heber Springs SD (51% FRL)*
  2. Valley Springs Middle, Valley Springs SD (42% FRL)*
  3. LISA Academy North Middle Charter, LISA Academy (49% FRL)*
  4. Oak Grove Middle, Paragould SD (76% FRL)
  5. Cabot Middle North, Cabot SD (37% FRL)*
  6. Lincoln Junior High, Bentonville SD (26% FRL)*
  7. A. Chaffin Jr. High, Fort Smith SD (42% FRL)*
  8. Cabot Junior High North, Cabot SD (34% FRL)*
  9. Manila Middle, Manila SD (56% FRL)
  10. Paragould Junior High, Paragould SD (71% FRL)*
  11. William Fulbright Junior High, Bentonville SD (18% FRL)*
  12. Swifton Middle, Jackson Co. SD (63% FRL)
  13. Bismarck Middle, Bismarck SD (59% FRL)*
  14. Washington Junior High, Bentonville SD (26% FRL)
  15. Cedarville Middle, Cedarville SD (73% FRL)
  16. Gravette Middle, Gravette SD (48% FRL)
  17. Pleasant View Campus, Mulberry/Pleasant View Bi-County Schools (77% FRL)
  18. LISA Academy, LISA Academy SD (44% FRL)
  19. Helen Tyson Middle, Springdale SD (75% FRL)
  20. Butterfield Trail Middle, Van Buren SD (70% FRL)

We were pleased to see the variety of middle level schools on our list of those demonstrating high student growth. We included the percentage of students in the school who participate in the Free/Reduced Lunch program (due to low household income) to demonstrate why we like to talk about growth! The percentage of students eligible for FRL among these high-growth middle level schools ranges from a low of 18% to a high of 77%, reflecting how growth is possible for all types of schools!

*Schools with an asterisk were also on the top 20 list last year! Half of the schools on our list- demonstrate that high growth can be achieved year after year. These are schools that are consistently growing student’s academic performance more than would be expected. Way to go!

You can find the middle level schools with the greatest student growth by subject and region in the full report.

 

———-Stay tuned to learn about more OEP Award Winners!——–

Next week we will share “High Growth” High Schools, and then we will release the list of high growth schools serving high poverty populations, those who are “Beating the Odds!”

 

Outstanding Educational Performance: High Growth Elementary Schools

In The View from the OEP on November 7, 2018 at 10:26 am

Here at the OEP we are excited to celebrate the highest-growth schools across the state in our 2017-18 Outstanding Educational Performance Awards (also known as the OEP Awards)!

The OEP Awards highlight schools in Arkansas based on student growth on the ACT Aspire exams in Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). Growth is calculated at the student level, and essentially reflects how much a student has improved his or her score from the prior year compared to what was predicted based on prior achievement history.

We celebrate the state using this student-level growth model, and are pleased to be able to highlight how students are growing academically in schools across the state.  We hope that drawing attention to the growth information will spark discussions among stakeholders about how to ensure all schools are growing the knowledge of Arkansas students.

We give OEP Awards based on student growth because we think it is a better reflection of how the school is impacting students rather than proficiency rates.  Proficiency rates, even those that move beyond the ‘percent proficient’ like our OEP GPA and Arkansas’ weighted achievement score, are more correlated with student demographic characteristics, such as eligibility for the federal Free/Reduced Lunch program, than growth scores. This means that schools are equally as likely to demonstrate high student growth regardless of the characteristics of the students that they serve.

How are the OEP awards different?

Simple- OEP Awards are based on student growth.

We examine growth specifically by content area, because we think it is important to examine each subject separately and without including the English Proficiency progress for English Language Learners (which should also be examined separately).  Another difference is that unlike the state performance awards that were given out last week, OEP awards are grouped by school level (Elementary, Middle, and High) and by Region (Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southwest, and Southeast).

We celebrate two types of schools this year: “High-Growth” and “Beating the Odds”.  High-Growth schools are those whose students demonstrated the highest growth on the ACT Aspire tests, and “Beating the Odds” are the highest growth schools serving low-income communities.

Today’s awards for High Growth Elementary schools are based on the growth of elementary students on the ACT Aspire Math and English Language Arts assessments.

Highest Growth: Elementary Level

The top elementary school for overall student growth is Center Valley Elementary from Russellville School District, with a growth score of 90.55. City Heights Elementary from Van Buren School District had the highest Math growth with a score of 93.65, while Center Valley Elementary also obtained the highest growth score in ELA at 91.20.

The top 20 elementary schools for overall content growth are:

  1. Center Valley Elementary, Russellville SD (47% FRL)
  2. City Heights Elementary, Van Buren SD (62% FRL)*
  3. Greenbrier Springhill Elementary, Greenbrier SD (41% FRL)*
  4. Crawford Elementary, Russellville SD (89% FRL)
  5. Greenbrier Wooster Elementary, Greenbrier SD (43% FRL)*
  6. Salem Elementary, Salem SD (65% FRL)*
  7. Sequoyah Elementary, Russellville SD (43% FRL)
  8. Bismarck Elementary, Bismarck SD (71% FRL)*
  9. Oscar Hamilton Elementary, Foreman SD (74% FRL)*
  10. Parson Hills Elementary, Springdale SD (95% FRL)
  11. John Tyson Elementary, Springdale SD (77% FRL)*
  12. Cross County Elementary Tech Academy, Cross County SD (73% FRL)
  13. Genoa Central Elementary, Genoa Central SD (47% FRL)
  14. Des Arc Elementary, Des Arc SD (69% FRL)
  15. Monitor Elementary, Springdale SD (84% FRL)
  16. Eastside Elementary, Cabot SD (35% FRL)*
  17. Sonora Elementary, Springdale SD (74% FRL)*
  18. Cavanaugh Elementary, Fort Smith SD (60% FRL)*
  19. Hunt Elementary, Springdale SD (44% FRL)*
  20. Pottsville Elementary, Pottsville SD (53% FRL)*

*Schools with an asterisk were also on the top 20 list last year! Over half of the schools on our list- demonstrate that high growth can be achieved year after year. These are schools that are consistently growing student’s academic performance more than would be expected. Way to go!

Similarly to last year’s list, a variety of schools have shown high growth when observed through the lens of the percentage of students served Free/Reduced Lunch. The proportion of students eligible for FRL among these high-growth schools ranges from a low of 35% to a high of 95%, reflecting how growth is possible for all types of schools!

You can find the elementary schools with the greatest student growth by subject and region in the full report.

———-Stay tuned to learn about more OEP Award Winners!——–

Next week we will share “High Growth” Middle level schools, followed by High Schools, and then we will release the list of high growth schools serving high poverty populations, those who are “Beating the Odds!”

Let’s Reward Growth!

In The View from the OEP on October 31, 2018 at 11:39 am

This week, Arkansas schools received nearly $7 million in reward money from the Arkansas’ School Recognition Program. This program provides funds for “outstanding schools”.  Schools are rewarded for being in the top 10 percent of schools in the state for academic achievement and/or academic growth.

Here at OEP, we are glad that schools are being rewarded, but think the program could be improved in three ways:

  1. Award all the funds to schools where students are showing high academic growth,
  2. Remove graduation rate from the calculations, and
  3. Reward schools for highest growth ranking within school level (Elementary, Middle, or High) instead of across all schools.

Put the Money Where the Growth is

We wish that all the reward and recognition funds were given to those schools where students are demonstrating high academic growth! Of course we think academic achievement is important, but suggest that it is not the best indicator of how well a school is educating students. We have talked before about the clear relationship between academic achievement and poverty, because students from homes with greater resources are likely to perform better on the annual assessments in in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Academic growth, on the other hand, reflects how much improvement the students are making from year to year, which is what school personnel can impact directly through high-quality instruction. Recognizing and rewarding schools where teachers are growing students’ academic performance is critical to ensure that our teachers feel supported in their work to help every student learn every day.

It is important we all understand that high academic achievement and high growth are not mutually exclusive! There are 10 schools (listed below) that were in the top 5% for both academic achievement and growth.

Table 1: Schools Identified in the top 5% of schools in the state for both Growth and Achievement, 2017-18.

top 5%Notice that among these 10 schools recognized for top-tier growth and achievement, there are schools with very small percentages of students eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch (a proxy for poverty), as well as schools with FRL rates above the state average of 63%. We are excited to see high growth and at all types of schools!  Salem Elementary and Bismark Elementary serve populations that are 65% and 71% FRL respectively, but are in the top 5% of schools in the state for both achievement and growth. We are excited to see that these top-tier schools serve different types of student populations, but are all serving their students so well!

In fact, half of the schools in the top 5% for growth serve a higher than average percentage of students eligible for FRL – topping out with Parson Hills in Springdale and Tilles in Forth Smith which both serve over 90% of students eligible for FRL.

When it comes to high-ranking in achievement, however, schools serving more disadvantaged populations are harder to find. Only five of the schools that made the top tier in achievement were above the state average %FRL (including Salem and Bismarck- that we already mentioned).

This means we have a bunch of high-achieving schools getting reward money that aren’t showing top tier student growth. Most of the schools recognized for high achievement demonstrate above average growth, ten rewarded schools had growth below the state average.  In fact, 4 schools rewarded for high achievement were in the bottom quartile for growth among all schools in the state. We aren’t going to name those schools here- but recommend that you check out how well your school performed in growth in these easy to interpret school info one-pagers. Just select your school see the percentile rank for achievement, growth, and SQSS indicators.


What’s The Deal with Graduation Rate?

For high schools, the current law requires that graduation rate be included in the ‘growth’ calculation. It’s odd, and likely a leftover from the old days when we didn’t have growth indicators for high school, but at least it isn’t biased against schools serving more at-risk students since graduation rates aren’t really correlated with poverty rates! (r=-0.17). This year, both the 4- and 5- year graduation rates were included, which we think is an improvement because it at least benefits schools that are going the extra mile to help all kids graduate, even if it takes extra time.  Overall though, we think the recognition program should remove graduation rate from the calculations, because they just inflate growth scores for high schools, and makes the system misaligned with ESSA.


Reward Within School Level

The legislation for the reward program clearly states that schools will be rewarded for being in the top tier “of all public schools”, but here at OEP, we would love to see schools awarded recognition and reward money based on their ranking WITHIN their school level.  Making this change would be more equitable for all schools, and would align more closely with the state’s ESSA plan. If we want to incentivize schools to show growth, we have to make sure schools in all levels have a chance for rewards and recognition.


We Do It Our Way

We give OEP awards according to our preferences: only for growth, without graduation rate consideration for high schools, and within school level. In addition, we separate out growth in math and growth in ELA, because we think schools should be rewarded for their successes.

Tune in next week to find out which Elementary level schools receive OEP Awards for 2018!

Grade 11 ACT Scores

In The View from the OEP on October 25, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Last week, we shared that the grade 11 ACT scores from last spring were essentially the same as the ACT scores from the prior year.  When we examined the school-level, however, there were some schools that had serious increases from prior ACT scores!

We’ve posted the data on our website and included change in scores so you can dig into it yourself.

Three high schools really caught our eye, and we want to celebrate Scranton High, Shirley High, and Eureka Springs High for the improvement made by their students since Grade 11 ACT testing began in the 2015-16 school year. We present the ACT data from these schools below.

School Name Percent Met All Four ACT Readiness Benchmarks School % FRL Number of Students Tested 2017-18
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Scranton High 11 7 39 44% 28
Eureka Springs High 18 14 30 46% 43
Shirley High 3 4 20 77% 25
        State Average 14 14 14 54% 110

These schools have demonstrated large increases in the percentage of students meeting ACT college readiness benchmarks in all four subject areas (Math, English, Reading, and Science).  A student who meets the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks has at least a 50% chance of getting a “B” or better in the corresponding college course. Statewide, 14% of students meet this criteria, and the rates in these three districts are higher than in similar districts.

Scranton High, Shirley High, and Eureka Springs High Schools haven’t only shown improvements in the percentage of students meeting all four ACT readiness benchmarks, however.  Students from these schools also increased the average ACT score in each content area over prior performance and are outscoring districts serving similar populations.

You may notice that these schools serve a small number of students- meaning that the scores are more likely to fluctuate than those in larger districts. We agree, but many small schools have had big decreases in scores over time, and we think the three-year trend is a good start.

Scranton High, Shirley High, and Eureka Springs High schools also had strong ESSA growth scores last year, and were in the top 10% for growth overall, and the top 5% of high school for growth in ELA.  This got us to wondering about how ESSA growth (which doesn’t involve 11th graders at all) is related to ACT score improvement?  We were also wondering how 11th grade ACT scores are related to school poverty rates, and to the 10th grade ACT Aspire scores from the prior year.


ACT improvement and ESSA growth:

We might anticipate that ESSA growth values and ACT improvement would be related, because if a school is seeing growth from the students who complete the ACT Aspire (given in grades 3-10), then it would make sense that students who complete the ACT would also demonstrate growth. As you can see in the scatter plot below, however, there is essentially no relationship between the values at the school level (r=0.09).

ACT and Growth

While we presented English scores, the relationship was consistent for math growth as well. We thought maybe it was because some of the schools we are considering as ‘high schools’ serve a wider grade range than just 9-12, and so maybe the growth values was based on growth in lower grades, but when we limited the sample to only schools serving grades 9-12 the correlation remained as low as with the whole sample. We think this lack of relationship highlights the difference between the longitudinal growth model and a simple change value. The ESSA growth score includes more sensitive information about how students are performing longitudinally, while the ACT information which is just snapshots of the scores of two different groups of students in subsequent years.


ACT scores and 10th grade ACT Aspire scores:

This got us wondering about how correlated were these schools’ 10th grade ACT Aspire scores from 2016-17 with the 11th grade ACT  scores from 2017-18.  We would expect they would be correlated, since the ACT Aspire is meant to predict performance on the ACT!  Although the state-level values didn’t change for either assessment, we wanted to examine the relationship at a school level.  We use the OEP’s weighted GPA to examine the relationship between the scores, and find the values are strongly correlated (r=0.84).  Math scores were more correlated (r=0.92), while ACT science scores were less correlated with the 10th grade performance (r=0.70).

g10g11ACT

Given that the ACT scores are so correlated with ACT Aspire scores, students, parents, teachers, and other education stakeholders should take action on ACT Aspire results in earlier grades to address any areas of academic weakness well before the ACT.


ACT scores school poverty rates:

As we would expect with assessments measuring academic performance, we find that the ACT is negatively correlated with school poverty rates (r=-0.58), so it is important to compare your school’s performance to those serving similar student populations.

ACT- Poverty

We are so glad that the state is investing in our students and providing them with all the opportunity to take the ACT in 11th grade, but just testing students doesn’t help them learn.  We need to work hard to effectively use information from both formative and summative assessments to support students in their learning.

Play It Again Sam… Letter Grades and ACT Scores

In The View from the OEP on October 17, 2018 at 12:20 pm

It’s been a big week in Arkansas education, with A-F Letter Grades and ACT scores being released, but both scores are generally a repeat of last year’s results.

As expected, the majority of schools (67%) received the same letter grade as last year.  There was some movement up a level (16% of schools) or down a level (17%) of schools, but these were generally more reflective of schools crossing over a classification threshold than significant changes in performance.  ACT scores for Arkansas’ 2018 graduates were just the same as they were for the Class of 2017. The average composite score of 19.4 and the determination that 17% of Arkansas graduates met the readiness benchmarks in all four tested areas are both below the national average and exactly the same as last year’s results.

How are school leaders, parents, and policy makers to interpret the static results?  Here at the OEP, we hope to share some tools for interpreting the new data. We also want to get into the weeds about how the Achievement and Growth scores interact in the ESSA model.

Before we jump into the details, we have some good news to highlight!

First- we congratulate ADE on getting the school performance information out so quickly this year. This helps schools evaluate how their school is serving students and make changes in a timely manner to address areas where the numbers are low.

Second- we celebrate the transparency that ADE has built into the system, and we fully support Arkansas’ decision to provide all students the opportunity to take the ACT for free.  These are positive decisions for students!  We love the public availability of the school performance reports through myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov– especially the option to compare achievement and growth performance with similar schools.  This option is available within the Reports tab by selecting similar schools based on %FRL, racial percentages and/or geographic proximity (see images below). If you haven’t checked this out, you should!

School filter

apply filter

 

 


The data is a lot to take in, and it can be tough to try to figure out what’s important and what the patterns are. We have posted this interactive data viz of the Letter Grades and associated scores to help you see a statewide picture.  You can find your school, and filter by academic growth score and poverty rate to see how schools that are similar to yours have scored.

OEP’s Interactive 2017-18 ESSA Data Visualization

ESSA Viz

Even with all the data out there, however, we are concerned that it may be difficult for many stakeholders to understand how their school is performing. In addition, we think each indicator provides insight independently, and so we made these simple one-pagers for easy reference.  To ease interpretation for stakeholders, we assigned each school a percentile rank (within their assigned grade span) for the Achievement, Growth, and School Quality indicators.  While this is too superficial for school personnel to act upon, we hope you find it a helpful communication tool. You can get them from our website officeforeducation policy.org, or here:

OEP’s One-Page School Summary of 2017-18 ESSA Data

One Pager


Now we are going to dig into the school performance data, and consider the new letter grades. Don’t worry – there are pictures, and you can download the data we used here!

As expected, the majority of schools (67%) received the same letter grade as last year.  There was some movement up a level (16% of schools) or down a level (17%) of schools, but these were generally more reflective of schools crossing over a classification threshold than significant changes in performance. Overall, the percentage of schools receiving each letter grade was similar to last year.

Figure 1: School Letter Grade Percentages, 2016-17 and 2017-18.

2017-18 LetterGrade Chart


Certain types of schools are more likely to get A’s and B’s.

Once again this year, we find that schools serving a lower percentage of students who participate in Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) generally get better grades than schools who serve a more disadvantaged population.  As you can see in Figure 2 below, there is a strong negative relationship between FRL and ESSA scores (r=-0.69) although schools with the same %FRL have a range of about 20 ESSA points. Take note that there are a lot of schools reporting 100% FRL, which is the result of districts participating in the community eligibility provision.  We like the CEP, but some of these schools reported much lower FRL rates in years past, so we should use caution when considering the performance of these schools since it may not be an apples-to-apples comparison.

Figure 2: School ESSA Index Score and %FRL, 2017-18.

ESSA FRL

As we’ve said before, the ESSA index is mainly driven by achievement, and two scores are almost perfectly correlated at r=.97.  This is frustrating because the model was supposed to consider growth more heavily than achievement, but in reality achievement scores overwhelm growth. In addition, you can see in Figure 3 that this year’s achievement is almost perfectly correlated with prior year achievement (r=.94). So high achieving schools (generally lower FRL schools) tend to get better grades both years.

Figure 3: Weighted Achievement, 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Achievement 2 year


What about GROWTH?

The good news is that academic growth (our favorite) is less associated with school FRL rates than achievement (see in Figure 4 (r=-.25)). Growth is the indicator that measures how students scored compared to how well we predicted they would score based on prior achievement.  We feel it is very important to examine this indicator carefully, as it is the best reflection of the learning occurring in our classrooms.

Figure 4: Academic Growth and %FRL, 2017-18.

growth FRL

Interestingly, as you can see in Figure 5, academic growth is strongly correlated with prior year growth (r=.80).  This means that schools with high growth in 2016-17 also had high growth in 2017-18. The reverse is also true, unfortunately, as schools where students performed lower than predicted in 2016-17 demonstrated the same pattern in 2017-18.

Figure 5: Academic Growth 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Growth 2 year

This is great news for Arkansas educators!  We have an indicator of student learning that is not very correlated with school poverty, but seems to be consistently identifying schools as high, average, or low growth. Keep an eye out for the OEP awards, which will celebrate the high growth school!


But does increased growth relate to increased achievement, as we would think it should? The figure below represents the change in growth score from 2016-17 to 2017-18 and the change in achievement score over those same two years. Although increased growth does not always correlate with positive changes in achievement (because students can be achieving at a higher level than predicted but not necessarily making it into another proficiency category), there are few schools in the lower right quadrant where growth decreased and achievement increased. Of greatest concern are the schools in the lower left quadrant, where growth and proficiency both decreased since the prior year.

Figure 6: Change in Academic Growth and Achievement, from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

Growth Achievement


So what should school leaders, parents, and policy makers do?

  1.  Get into the data!  Understand and communicate how your school is performing on each indicator compared to similar schools.  If there is an indicator where scores are relatively high, build on that success.  If there is an indicator where scores are relatively low, consider what might be contributing to that score and work to change students’ school experiences. Stakeholders and policy makers should celebrate school successes, and work to support development in low-performing indicators.
  2. Focus on the learning every day! The ESSA Index, the ACT Aspire, and the ACT tests are once-a-year snapshots of performance.  Teachers should be using high quality ongoing formative assessments to understand where their students are and work to help them move them forward in their learning. Stakeholders and policy makers should support schools as they work to make an opportunity for growth for their students.
  3. Stay the course! Change takes time. To move the needle on student achievement and success in Arkansas, we need to put in the work and give the work time.  Changing assessments or backing away from rigorous and high-quality school performance analyses will only add instability into the system.

Arkansas education is on the right track, so let’s keep playing that tune.

 

 

 

Arkansas’ Struggling Readers

In The View from the OEP on October 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Today we are excited to release new research about Arkansas’ struggling readers. We thought since school performance reports are being released this Friday, it is a good time to remember that actual kids are behind the test scores used to generate the reports.  We hope you take a moment to reflect on who Arkansas’ struggling readers are, and how their reading skills develop through early high school.

We think this research is particularly important in light of all the effort that Arkansas educators are putting into improving early reading ability. By better understanding the historical improvement patterns of students who demonstrate low reading ability in third grade, we can better evaluate the effectiveness of the efforts to improve outcomes for struggling readers.

We examined the reading achievement of nearly 77,000 Arkansas students who were continuously enrolled in Arkansas public schools from 3rd grade through early high school. We hope you read the policy brief and more in-depth Arkansas Education Report, but we briefly summarize our findings here:


Who isn’t reading ‘on grade level’ in 3rd grade?

  • Students who qualify for free or reduced price lunches were twice as likely to be low-achieving readers in 3rd grade, compared to their more economically advantaged peers.
  • Students who are Black or Hispanic were twice as likely to be low-achieving readers in 3rd grade, compared to their White peers.

We know- you’re like “Duh” any teacher could have told you that, but it is important to have the data, the facts, about out struggling readers.

  • Males are somewhat more likely than females to be identified as low-achieving readers but the difference is not as large as it is between economic and racial groups.
  • ELLs are somewhat more likely than non-ELLs to be identified as low-achieving readers but the difference is not as large as it is between economic and racial groups.

Do the students who demonstrate low reading achievement in 3rd grade ‘catch up’ to their peers over time and what are the characteristics of students who do?  Note- we use standardized scores (z-scores) to examine student achievement over time due to changes in assessment.  You can read more about the methodology in the full report.

  • Of students who were initially low-achieving in 3rd grade, 12% ‘caught up’ to average state reading performance by early high school.
  • Students who were economically advantaged, White, Hispanic and/or female students were more likely to reach average reading achievement by early high school than their Black, male, and economically disadvantaged peers.
  • Among over 6,000 Black students who were identified as low-achieving in 3rd grade, only 6% demonstrated average reading achievement by early high school.
  • All types of low-achieving students demonstrated large improvements between 3rd and 4th grades, although rates of improvement after 4th grade is very different for different types of students.

 

Presented below are the standardized scores of initially low-achieving students from 3rd through 10th grade.  Results are presented by FRL participation and by race.

Figure 1: Average Reading Scores of Initially Low-Achieving Students: Grade 3 through 10 by Economic Disadvantage (FRL) Status g3 reading frl

Figure 2: Average Reading Scores of Initially Low-Achieving Students: Grade 3 through 10 by Race

g3 reading race

None of these initially low-performing student groups, even White or economically advantaged students, caught back up to the state average as a group by early high school.

  • Hispanic and economically advantaged students are achieving almost a half standard deviation increase in achievement as a group, and White students are making approximately 0.4 standard deviation increase, while Black and low-income students are making closer to a quarter of a standard deviation increase in achievement.
  • Even though low-achieving Hispanic students initially have very low average scores, they make advancements comparable to those of White students, the most advantaged group. This is an exciting trend to observe because it indicates potential for a narrowing achievement gap between White and Hispanic students.

You might be thinking that there are differences in reading score improvement between Hispanic students who are identified as ELL and Hispanic students who are not. We were pleased to find that both ELL and Non-ELL students made large gains in reading achievement over time as presented in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Average Reading Scores of Initially Low-Achieving Students: Grade 3 through 10 by English Language Learner Status

g3 reading ELL

 


In summary, Arkansas students face large and persistent racial and socioeconomic disparities in third grade reading scores. Moreover, few of our students who are struggling readers in third grade ever catch up to the state average. And these are for relatively stable students, those who are continuously enrolled in our schools from grades 3-10.

Our hope is that Arkansas’ average reading scores will continue to increase and all students will grow to read proficiently, but it is evident that special attention needs to be given to low income and racial minority students and students who are struggling with basic reading skills in third grade.

Although some schools saw double-digit reading proficiency gains after RISE trainings in 2017, similar improvement was not reflected on 2018 assessments. Programs must be carefully monitored to determine what, if any, impact they are having on changing the long-terms outcomes for students who, as demonstrated in this research, are likely to continue to struggle to read proficiently throughout their educational experience.

Schools and districts should carefully examine the progress of their struggling readers and consider the effectiveness of any interventions or programs that are being implemented.  Although this analysis uses state assessments as the measure of student achievement, schools and districts should examine multiple measures, including high quality formative assessments, to evaluate progress in student’s reading.

We must continue to strive to ensure that all students are leaving elementary school as competent readers, equipped with the literacy foundation necessary for future academic success.

Unpacking School Performance Ratings

In The View from the OEP on October 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Arkansas school performance ratings and A-F letter grades will be released to the public on October 12th.

Here’s what we think you can expect:

1) Most schools will get the same Letter Grade as they did last year.

2) Schools serving a smaller percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch will be more likely to get an “A” or a “B” than schools serving a population where a greater percentage of students experience economic hardship.

3) Arkansas’ growth measure- a powerful indicator of students’ academic improvement over time- will still be over shadowed by single-year achievement and will still be challenging for educators and parents to understand.

____________________

In advance of the release, we wanted to review the purpose of a school performance report.

This is the true baseline year for Arkansas’ new accountability system.  The state has worked diligently to develop an accountability system that will support student learning, as presented in the theory of action presented below.

Theoryofaction

The idea is that if schools get good information about what is really happening in their schools, then they can make improvements that will improve outcomes for students.

The continuous cycles of inquiry will take time to develop and build, and will require some new feedback systems to support schools and districts as they work to identify needs within their systems.

But does a school performance report really give schools the tools that they need to improve?  It’s complicated, and not just for Arkansas! A report released yesterday provides some insight into how stakeholders feel about school accountability across the nation.

One of the big benefits of school accountability identified in the report has been the increased transparency and quality of information about what is going on in schools. The interpretation of the data and the ability of schools to interpret the data and develop a plan to improve learning and resource allocation is key to Arkansas’ plan, as presented below.

Cycle

Arkansas’ school personnel have been able to preview the school performance report since September 21, and we can tell that they have because ADE has made some updates to the reports and extended the private review deadline.

We appreciate the state letting school personnel review the information, and fully support the pursuit of high quality data in the system.  But we worry that school personnel are spending a lot of time trying to check the scores, as opposed to interpreting it and developing a plan to support student learning.

One thing that we think will help school personnel re-direct their time from checking a bunch of data points to developing a plan to support student learning, is to really understand what is driving the school performance score.

The Biggie- Achievement

The majority of the school performance score is determined by student achievement on the 2017-18 ACT Aspire English Language Arts and Mathematics performance of students in grades 3-8.  Wealthier schools will generally have higher achievement.  We know that achievement on assessments is negatively correlated with student risk factors such as poverty.  You can check out the relationship in our data visualization.

Schools and the public have had information about achievement since scores were released early in the summer, which was much earlier than in previous years. Schools may have difficultly, however, calculating what their weighted achievement score would be because student ELA scores not reported by the full range of categories used in the school performance calculations.  Additional information about cut scores for the full range of performance categories is included in the Final ESSA Decision Rules, and could be applied to student scores but that would take quite a bit of time!

Note: As we mentioned in our earlier blog– achievement on the ACT Aspire pretty much stayed the same as last year, but the weighted achievement scores will be lower than last year for most schools because ACT Aspire modified the criteria for ELA readiness. Thankfully, because of the forward thinking actions taken by the ADE to equate the scores with prior years and adjust the cut points for the letter grade, the lower achievement scores should not result in lower school letter grades across the state.

The Most Important (to us!)- Academic Growth

Here at OEP we feel that this is the most important piece of information in the school performance report because it reflects how much students at the school increased their academic performance over time compared to how much the average student improved.  We feel growth is a much more informative indicator of how schools are educating students than achievement, and are pleased that it is much less correlated with school poverty rates.

Unfortunately, schools can’t verify this growth information because it is calculated at the state level- using the relationship between current and historical test scores of every student in the state to develop a ‘predicted score’.  This score is then compared to each student’s actual score to determine if the student’s academic achievement as measured by the ACT Aspire assessment was more than expected, as expected, or less than expected.  These student-level scores are averaged at the school-level and reported as a reported to the school as a transformed variable with a mean of 80 and a standard deviation of around 3. We are confident that the calculations are correct, and would advise schools to worry less about re-calcaulting the values themselves (which they can’t due to only having access to their school’s data) and more about understanding what this indicator means.

Many schools throughout the state are familiar with NWEA’s MAP Growth, where there is a target score required for students to meet annual growth.  This makes it easy for schools to identify if students met or exceed growth.  NWEA has information with 370 million test event records spanning more than 15 years, so they have a really good idea of how a typical student will increase their score over time.  ACT Aspire is a relatively new assessment however, so we want to make sure that we aren’t ‘guessing’ how much a typical student ‘should’ increase.   Instead, the state uses real data to inform how much a typical student DID increase from one year to the next and then compares that to the performance of students with similar test score histories.

Growth is really the most meaningful at the student level.  If students in program X are not meeting growth expectations, while students in program Y are, then careful consideration should be given to re-allocating resources so more students can benefit from program Y.  In discussions with the ESSA advisory team yesterday, we were thrilled to hear that the state may be able to provide student-level growth information in the future which would be super valuable to school leaders as they develop a plan to enhance student learning and resource allocation.

The Most Distracting- SQSS

The School Quality and Success (SQSS) indicator is a mouthful, but is really the smallest contributor to the overall school performance score. Since parts of SQSS reflects achievement, it is not surprising that SQSS scores are also negatively correlated with school poverty rates (r= -0.48).

As we have said before there are a lot of indicators included in this measure and school personnel may be spending a lot of time focusing on each indicator and wondering if the data are accurate. For some indicators, schools could verify the data through their own systems by applying the business rules, but for other indicators they cannot.  The first time schools saw the SQSS indicators was last spring, and the data included in the current school performance reports was pulled soon after.  Because SQSS indicators represent systems in place at schools, such as attendance reporting practices and course enrollment, and because these systems may require some time to adjust, we don’t expect to see large (or meaningful) changes in these scores yet.

We like how SQSS indicators can help schools get more accurate information about what is happening at their school, but are looking forward to when they are presented in a way that schools can really use them in their strategic planning to support student outcomes.

The continuous cycles of inquiry will take time to develop and build, and will require some new feedback systems to support schools and districts as they work to identify needs within their systems.



What’s in a Grade? 

The school performance report also supports Arkansas’ legislation that every school must receive an A-F letter grade. The letter grade was designed to create a method for parents to easily understand the quality of a school, but does an A-F letter grade really give parents the information that they need about how a school is doing? One stakeholder in yesterday’s report captured the challenge of assigning schools letter grades:

“How do you make something that is simple enough to be understood, like an A through F rating system, but also incorporate a number of different factors that are complex enough to capture all of the things we want schools to do? Everything from math and reading to also discipline data or enrollment data or attendance data or all these other sort of facets of that system. So how do you make something that is usable and understandable, but also nuanced?”

Another stakeholder pointed out how the A-F grade represents what matters to the developers of the metrics:

“I sort of feel like the single rating of either A through F or on a number is sort of the worst impulses of accountability. Because not only are you saying what matters by its inclusion in that, but how much it matters, by how it’s weighted. So man, that takes a lot of faith in yourself that you can specify how much you should care about academics relative to attendance, relative to these other things.”

We agree- and have addressed before how although the intention was to make growth scores weight more heavily in the school performance reports and associated letter grade determination.  When schools where students make the largest improvements in achievement can still be saddled with a low grade due to the characteristics of the population they serve, we are sending the message that growth doesn’t really matter.   And as long as the performance index results in schools serving more advantaged students getting higher letter grades, we also send the message to parents that what makes a good school is not the learning that happens inside the building, but how large the houses are that surround the school.

We urge educators and parents to focus on the academic growth indicator, and view the purpose of a school performance report as the beginning of an ongoing conversation about how to continually increase student learning. 

Arkansas Discipline Update

In The View from the OEP on September 19, 2018 at 11:36 am

Last week, the Student Discipline Task Force submitted their report to the Arkansas State Board of Education, and OEP was pleased to present the annual report on student discipline.

OEP’s report examines student discipline in Arkansas public schools. We identify trends and a number of key student outcomes related to student discipline in the Arkansas public schools. While the data are only limited to what schools report, there are several meaningful findings from this work. While we recommend the full report and this introductory policy brief, today we wanted to share the highlights of what we found.


What are trends in reported student infractions and associated consequences?

  • There has been an 87% increase in reported discipline infractions since 2012-13, with over 270,000 discipline referrals in 2016-17. We believe the increase in referrals likely reflects greater focus on reporting discipline infractions as opposed to an increase in misbehavior in Arkansas schools.

discipline1

  • Over 80% of discipline referrals are for insubordination, disorderly conduct, or “other” infractions.
  • The majority of the increase in infraction referrals has been for “other” infractions. In 2016-17, additional reporting categories were included, but over a third of infractions remained identified only as “other”.

discipline2

  • Over 93% of discipline consequences are for out-of-school suspension (OSS), in-school suspension (ISS), or “other” action. There has been a decline in reported reliance on OSS, ISS, and corporal punishment over time.
  • The majority of the increase in consequences has been for “other” actions. In 2016-17, additional reporting categories were included, but about 19% of consequences remained identified only as “other”. While trends away from exclusionary discipline might indicate benefits for students, knowing more about what the “other” consequences are is important for understanding whether this represents a meaningful change for students.

discipline3


Are schools complying with Act 1329, which bans the use of OSS as a consequence for truancy?

  • The use of OSS for truancy declined from about 14% of all truancy cases in 2012-13 to about 7% of cases in 2016-17.
  • In 2016-17, 76 schools reported at least five or more truancy infractions and reported using OSS in at least 10% of those cases. Many of these were concentrated in a few districts.

discipline4


Are there racial or programmatic disproportionalities in school discipline?

  • Disproportionalities by race, free- and reduced- price lunch eligibility, and special education status exist both in terms of the number of referrals for infractions of various types, as well as in the likelihood of receiving exclusionary discipline, conditional on referral for a particular type of infraction. For example, black students receive 117.6 referrals per 100 students, relative to only about 37-40 for white students, Hispanic students, or students of other races. Then, conditional on being written up for any infraction, Black students receive OSS, expulsions, or referrals to ALE in about 25% of these cases, relative to only about 15% for students of other races.

discipline5


Which types of schools are High-Exclusion schools?

  • Certain types of schools in the state are more likely to administer lengthy exclusionary punishments: schools with greater proportions of black students, high schools and middle schools (relative to elementary schools).
  • There also appears to have been a decline in the severity used, on average, between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

What is the relationship between student absenteeism and exclusionary discipline?

  • There is a moderate correlation between student absenteeism and OSS days received, with the strongest correlations between grades 7 and 10.
  • Students marked as chronically absent in those grades received 0.5 to 0.64 more days of OSS on average, compared to those not chronically absent.
  • This suggests that schools seeking to tackle absenteeism may consider discipline reforms as one possible solution.

discipline6


What is the relationship between educational attainment and exclusionary discipline?

  • Exclusionary discipline in high school (and particularly ninth grade) is associated with lower likelihood of high school graduation and lower likelihood of enrolling in college, conditional on a variety of student characteristics as well as baseline achievement in eighth grade.
  • The magnitude of these relationships decline after controlling for the behaviors (types of infractions) reported, although there is still a small relationship detected in some cases.

discipline7

 


Act 1329 has provided an opportunity to examine student discipline the the state.  The issue is complex, but one of the Student Discipline Task Force recommendations was that schools consider alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices when addressing student behaviors. The Board expressed concerns that OSS continues to be used as a consequence for truancy, and discussed the importance of continued effort to support schools and communities in reducing the use of exclusionary discipline for students. We look forward to continued discussion about improving learning environments for Arkansas students!