University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Outstanding Educational Performance: High Growth High Schools

In The View from the OEP on June 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm

UA Achievement Awards 2017 BEST GROWTH MATHUA Achievement Awards 2017 BEST GROWTH ELA

Today’s 2016-17 Outstanding Educational Performance Awards (also known as the OEP Awards) are for High Growth High SchoolsThis 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. 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 months 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 71.8 to 86.7 at the high school level, although when math and ELA are examined separately, the range increases somewhat (70.2 to 90.9).  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 2.5 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 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: High School Level

The top High School level school for overall student growth is LISA Academy North High, with a growth score of 86.66.  Bismarck High had the highest math growth with a score of 90.85, while Miner Academy from Bauxite School District had the highest growth in ELA at 88.05.

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

1. LISA Academy North High, LISA Academy (34% FRL)
2. Haas Hall Academy Bentonville, Haas Hall Bentonville (0% FRL)
3. Bismarck High, Bismarck SD (54% FRL)
4. Greenbrier Junior High, Greenbrier SD (32% FRL)
5. Van Buren Freshman Academy, Van Buren SD (56% FRL)
6. Haas Hall Academy, Haas Hall Academy (0% FRL)
7. Russellville Jr. High, Russellville SD (56% FRL)
8. Arkansas Arts Academy High, Arkansas Arts Academy (25% FRL)
9. Trumann High, Trumann SD (69% FRL)
10. Southside Charter High, Southside SD (Independence) (68% FRL)
11. Arkansas School For The Deaf High School, Ark. School For The Deaf (53% FRL)
12. Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy High, Responsive Ed. Solutions NWA Classical Academy (9% FRL)
13. Eureka Springs High, Eureka Springs SD (49% FRL)
14. Danville High, Danville SD (70% FRL)
15. Timbo High, Mountain View SD (78% FRL)
16. eStem High Charter, eStem Public Charter (27% FRL)
17. Rural Special High, Mountain View SD (56% FRL)
18. Wilbur D. Mills High, Pulaski County Special SD (66% FRL)
19. Cabot High, Cabot SD (27% FRL)
20. Greenbrier High, Greenbrier SD (32% FRL)

We were pleased to see the variety of high 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 0% to a high of 78%, reflecting how growth is possible for all types of schools!  You can find the high school 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!”

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