Leader Blues

Monday, April 02, 2007

TOP STORY >>State grades performance

IN SHORT: One out of four students in Lonoke and the PCSSD donít graduate from high school. Cabot, Searcy and Beebe students fare better.

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Barely more than 75 percent of Pulaski County Special School District students graduated from high school in 2006, and of those who went on to college, more than 60 percent of them had to take remedial courses, according to the recently released statewide school performance report.

The district fared poorly in spite of spending $8,561 per student during the 2005-2006 school year. In central Arkansas, only Lonoke spent more at $9,145. PCSSD also had the highest average teacher salary in central Arkansas at $48,604.

The county school district also had a grade inflation rate of 36.2 percent. The state computes the grade inflation rate by comparing high school report grades with ACT scores.

PCSSD also has 18 schools on the stateís improvement list, according to the statistics available on the state education departmentís web site.

Conversely, Searcy has a higher graduation rate (84.4 percent), a grade inflation rate of just eight percent and a college remediation rate of 27.7 percent, while spending $2,000 less a year per student and $4,000 a year less per teacher.

Cabotís graduation rate was just over 80 percent, with grade inflation just one-third of PCSSD and a college remediation almost half of the Pulaski County district, while spending $7,479 per student and $44,694 per teacher.

Performance reports
The annual school performance reports list how well each school and district did on benchmark and end-of-course exams, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the number of schools on the state improvement list, number of students retained through the eighth grade, attendance rate, dropout rate, graduation rate, college remediation, ACT scores and expulsions to help give the state, districts, and parents an overall view of performance.

PCSSD
According to the performance report, 99 percent of the districtís teachers were completely certified, 44 percent had masterís degrees and one percent had advanced degrees. The district retained 219 students in the 2005-2006 school year. Most (57) were retained in first grade followed by 52 sixth graders and 48 seventh graders. The graduation rate was 75.5 percent, while the dropout rate was 4.6 percent.

The district had a grade inflation rate of 36.2 percent and a college remediation rate of 61.1 percent.

Students taking the ACT had an average math score of 19, a 20 in English and a composite of 19.8.

On the annual norm-referenced exam (ITBS) given to students in grades third through ninth, the fourth graders had the best percentile score in the district, scoring a percentile rank of 67 in math concepts and estimation. Ninth graders had the worst percentile score, with a 43 ranking in reading comprehension, meaning that 57 percent of ninth-graders taking the test across the nation outscored them. The district spent $8,561 per student during the year and teacherís salaries averaged $48,604.

CABOT
According to the performance report, 98 percent of the districtís teachers were completely certified and 38 percent had masterís degrees. The district retained 102 students in the 2005-2006 school year. Most (49) were first graders, followed by 22 second graders and 20 third graders. The graduation rate was 80.5 percent, while the dropout rate was 4.2 percent.

Students taking the ACT had an average math score of 21.7, a 23.6 in English and a composite of 22.4. The district had a grade inflation rate of 15.2 percent and a college remediation rate of 35 percent.

On the annual norm-referenced exam (ITBS) given to students in third through ninth grades, fourth graders had the best percentile score in the district, scoring a percentile rank of 80 in math concepts and estimation. Ninth graders had the worst percentile score, with a 56 in reading comprehension, meaning that 44 percent of ninth-graders taking the test across the nation outscored them.

The district spent $7,479 per student during the year and teacherís salaries averaged $44,694.

LONOKE
According to the performance report, 99 percent of the districtís teachers were completely certified and 37 percent had masterís degrees. The district retained just 11 students in the 2005-2006 school year. Ten of those were first graders and the other was a second grader. The graduation rate was 74.5 percent, while the dropout rate was 4.9 percent.

Students taking the ACT had an average math score of 20, a 20.3 in English and a composite of 20.4. The district had a grade inflation rate of 15.9 percent and a college remediation rate of 46.9 percent.

On the annual norm-referenced exam (ITBS) given to students in third through ninth grades, fourth graders had the best percentile score in the district, scoring a percentile rank of 71 in math concepts and estimation. Ninth graders had the worst percentile score, with a 47 in reading comprehension, meaning that 53 percent of ninth-graders taking the test across the nation outscored them.

The district spent $9,145 per student during the year and teacherís salaries averaged $39,379.

SEARCY
According to the performance report, all of the districtís teachers were completely certified and 46 percent had masterís degrees.

The district retained 60 students in the 2005-2006 school year. Most (18) were in seventh grade, followed by 17 in the first grade and 13 eighth graders. The graduation rate was 84.4 percent, while the dropout rate was 4.5 percent.

Students taking the ACT had an average math score of 22.7, a 23.2 in English and a composite score of 22.6.

The district had a grade inflation rate of eight percent and a college remediation rate of 27.7 percent. On the annual norm-referenced exam (ITBS) given to students in third through ninth grades, fifth graders had the best percentile score in the district, scoring a percentile rank of 82 in math concepts and estimation. Ninth graders had the worst percentile score, with a 57 in reading comprehension, meaning that 43 percent of ninth-graders taking the test across the nation outscored them.

The district spent $6,341 per student during the year and teacherís salaries averaged $44,456.

BEEBE
According to the performance report, 99 percent of the districtís teachers were completely certified and 32 percent had masterís degrees.

The district retained 55 students in the 2005-2006 school year. Most (19) were first graders, followed by 17 seventh graders. The graduation rate was 81.5 percent, while the dropout rate was 4 percent.

Students taking the ACT had an average math score of 20.9, a 22 in English and a composite of 21.7.

The district had a grade inflation rate of 18.5 percent and a college remediation rate of 40.7 percent.

On the annual norm-referenced exam (ITBS) given to students in third through ninth grades, fourth graders had the best percentile score in the district, scoring a percentile rank of 74 in math concepts and estimation. Ninth graders had the worst percentile score, with a 52 in reading comprehension, meaning that 48 percent of ninth-graders taking the test across the nation outscored them.

The district spent $6,470 per student during the year and teacherís salaries averaged $40,970.