University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

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.

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