Leader Blues

Friday, July 14, 2006

TOP STORY >>Scores good, bad

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Schools in Cabot, Searcy and Carlisle perform well on Benchmark exams, while the Pulaski County Special School District results still show half the pupils are not on grade level.

Even though the federal government recently told Arkansas itís Benchmark exam were too easier, about 70 percent of the students who took the tests at Jacksonville elementary and middle school failed.

Conversely, about 70 percent of all Cabot, Searcy and Carlisle students passed the test.

The exams were given in March in grades three through eight across the state and tests students against what they are suppose to know in that grade. The exams cover two broad educational areas: Math and literacy.

Test results are divided into four categories: Advanced, proficient, basic and below basic.

Advanced and proficient scores mean the students are working at or above grade level. Scores of basic or below basic means the student is not working at grade level.

Under No Child Left Be-hind and state guidelines, all students are expected to score proficient or advanced on the benchmarksóin other words, to be working and learning on grade levelóby 2014.

The state released the latest round of test scores was released earlier this week.

ďOn the whole, we have very good news to share about the performance of Arkansas students on this yearís standardized tests, said Dr. Ken James, Arkansas Commiss-ioner of Education as the scores were announced. More students at every grade level ficient levels on the literacy and math Benchmark exams this year than last year. No school reached the coveted 100 proficient or advanced level in the local area, but many came close.

In Searcy, 81 percent of the third graders scored proficient or advanced in math, including 81 percent at Sidney Deener Elementary and 89 percent at Westside Ele-mentary. At Westside, 88 percent of the third graders were all proficient or advanced in literacy.

In Cabot, 85 percent of the third graders at Eastside Elementary scored proficient or advanced.

In Carlisle, 83 percent of the third-graders made the mark in math, and 86 percent of third graders in Des Arc also did well.
At the fourth-grade level, Cabotís Westside had 88 percent of its students hit the proficient or advanced mark. Magness Creek had 80 percent of its fourth graders hit the mark in math. Also 80 percent of Cabotís eight graders scored proficient or advanced in literacy, including 80 percent at Cabot Junior High South and 81 percent at Cabot Junior High North.

At Searcyís Southwest Middle School, 83 percent of the sixth graders scored proficient or ad-vanced in literacy, and 86 percent of Ahlf Junior High Schoolís eighth graders also made the score in literacy.

Conversely, 87 percent of the third graders at Harris Elementary are working below grade level in literacy, according to test results. At Jacksonville Elementary, 70 percent of the third-graders are not on grade level in literacy.

The Benchmark exam shows that 70 percent of fourth graders canít do grade level math. At Harris, 71 percent of fourth graders are below grade level in math and 77 percent are below grade level in literacy.

Only 20 percent of Homer Adkinís fifth graders are proficient or advanced in math, meaning 80 percent are not at grade level, neither are 71 percent of the fifth graders at Murrell Taylor Elementary. Also, 71 percent of fifth graders at Jacksonville Elementary are not on grade level in literacy or math.

At Harris, 85 percent of the fifth graders are not working at grade level in math and 68 percent are below in literacy.

At Jacksonville Middle School, 75 percent of sixth graders didnít make the cut in math and 70 percent arenít on grade level in literacy.

At the seventh-grade level, students at England Middle School are struggling as 74 percent are not on grade level in math and 72 percent missed the cut in literacy.

Of all the seventh graders at Jacksonville Middle School, 72 percent are not at grade level in math and 67 percent missed the mark in literacy.

England Middle School eighth graders also had problems with the test, with 85 percent failing to score proficient or advanced in math and 68 percent missing the cut in literacy. Eighth graders at Carlisle High School also had a tough time on the math portion, with 70 percent not making the grade.

Of all the eighth-graders in the Pulaski County School District, just 28 percent are proficient or ad-vanced in math. That falls even lower at Jacksonville Middle School, where only 16 percent of the eighth-graders score on or above grade level.