University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

OEP Awards for Elementary Schools: 2021

In The View from the OEP on November 3, 2021 at 10:38 am

This week, OEP is pleased to recognize elementary schools demonstrating Outstanding Educational Performance. OEP awards are different than other awards because we focus solely on student academic growth. Unlike other indicators of school performance, academic growth is not very correlated with school demographics. This means it is reflective of what students are learning in school, not what challenges they may face due to out if school factors. Here at OEP, we choose to highlight student academic growth because we believe that it is the best reflection of the impact that a school is having on students’ academic success. 

Today’s OEP 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 Overall Growth: Elementary Level

The top elementary school for overall student growth is Weiner Elementary from Harrisburg School District, with an overall growth score of 91.85. Weiner Elementary also took the top spot for growth in math at 95.27. George Elementary from Springdale School District had the highest growth score in ELA at 90.82.


The 20 elementary schools with the highest overall content growth are:

  • Weiner Elementary, Harrisburg SD (68% FRL)**
  • Parkview Elementary, Van Buren SD (53% FRL)
  • Pottsville Elementary, Pottsville SD (50% FRL)***
  • Hunt Elementary, Springdale SD (52% FRL)***
  • George Elementary, Springdale SD (88% FRL)
  • Genoa Central Elementary, Genoa Central SD (39% FRL)*
  • Eastside Elementary, Rogers SD (65% FRL)
  • Stagecoach Elementary, Cabot SD (38% FRL)*
  • Willowbrook Elementary, Bentonville SD (5% FRL)*
  • Vandergriff Elementary, Fayetteville SD (10% FRL)
  • John Tyson Elementary, Springdale SD (76% FRL)**
  • Monitor Elementary, Springdale SD (83% FRL)*
  • Carolyn Lewis Elementary, Conway SD (50% FRL)*
  • Elgin B Milton Primary, Ozark (63% FRL)
  • Cavanaugh Elementary, Fort Smith (65% FRL)**
  • Greenbrier Wooster Elementary, Greenbrier SD (41% FRL)***
  • East Pointe Elementary, Greenwood SD (44% FRL)
  • Green Forest Elementary, Green Forest SD (87% FRL)
  • Sequoya Elementary, Russellville SD (39% FRL)*
  • Woodrow Cummins Elementary, Conway SD (36% FRL)

*Asterisks indicate schools that have been in the top 20 for overall growth in prior years. Three of these top 20 schools have been on or list every year since 2017, and thirteen have been our top 20 list at least once before, demonstrating that high growth can be achieved year after year.  We also like how six of the schools on the list are newcomers- showing that growth scores can change over time. These schools, and others included in the full report, are 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, indicating lower income families. The proportion of students eligible for FRL among these high-growth schools ranges from a low of 5% to a high of 88%, reflecting that students can demonstrate high growth in all types of schools! As shown in Figure 1, academic growth is not very correlated with school poverty rates (R=-0.46).

Figure 1: 2021 Growth Score and % FRL, Elementary Schools

You can find the elementary schools with the greatest student growth by subject and region in the full report.  You can check out the growth ranking of all elementary schools in the downloadable datafile. We give OEP awards for high growth overall as well as for Math and ELA growth individually.  We recognize the highest growth schools by school level (elementary, middle, and high) and by region of the state.

The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education recently released performance data for all public schools in the state.  We created a statewide data visualization for you to explore the relationships between school poverty, academic growth, weighted achievement, and school quality.

For OEP awards, we use the purest measure of academic growth (referred to as Combined Content Growth Score) which includes growth for Math and English Language Arts only.  We chose this growth value, that excludes English Learner Progress because on average, including the ELP progress slightly depresses the growth score for schools.

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

Next week we will share the winners for High Growth Middle Level schools, followed by High Growth High Schools. Finally we will release the list of high growth schools serving high poverty populations, those who are “Beating the Odds!”

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