University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Outstanding Educational Performance Awards: High Growth Middle Schools

In The View from the OEP on May 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm

UA Achievement Awards 2017 BEST GROWTH ELAUA Achievement Awards 2017 BEST GROWTH MATH

Today’s 2016-17 Outstanding Educational Performance Awards (also known as the OEP Awards) are for High Growth middle schools.  This 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 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, 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).  Overall content growth scores have a mean of 80, and range from 70.7 to 86.5 at the middle level, although when math and ELA are examined separately, the range increases somewhat (69.5 to 90.5).  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 3 points.  Another difference is that unlike the state performance awards that were given out a few months ago, OEP awards are grouped by school level (Elementary, Middle, and High) and by Region (Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southwest, and Southeast).

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 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.

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 LISA Academy North, with a growth score of 86.45.  LISA Academy North also had the highest math growth with a score of 90.50, while Garland Learning Center from Hope School District had the highest growth in ELA at 89.45.

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

1. LISA Academy North, LISA Academy (53% FRL)
2. Valley Springs Middle, Valley Springs SD (43% FRL)
3. Cabot Middle, Cabot SD (39% FRL)
4. Heber Springs Middle, Heber Springs SD (52% FRL)
5. Greenwood Junior High, Greenwood SD (36% FRL)
6. Lincoln Junior High, Bentonville SD (26% FRL)
7. Nemo Vista Middle, Nemo Vista SD (63% FRL)
8. Garland Learning Center, Hope SD (85% FRL)
9. Cabot Junior High North, Cabot SD (36% FRL)
10. Greenbrier Middle, Greenbrier SD (40% FRL)
11. eStem Middle, eStem Public Charter (29% FRL)
12. J. William Fulbright Junior High, Bentonville SD (19% FRL)
13. Eureka Springs Middle, Eureka Springs SD (57% FRL)
14. Bismarck Middle, Bismarck SD (60% FRL)
15. Beebe Junior High, Beebe SD (49% FRL)
16. L. A. Chaffin Jr. High, Fort Smith SD (41% FRL)
17. Beryl Henry Upper Elementary, Hope SD (89% FRL)
18. Hellstern Middle, Springdale SD (50% FRL)
19. Little Rock Prep Academy Middle, Little Rock Prep Academy (86% FRL)
20. Paragould Junior High, Paragould SD (71% 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 19% to a high of 89%, reflecting how growth is possible for all types of schools!  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!”

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