Leader Blues

Monday, November 23, 2009

TOP STORY >> Area schools collecting honors

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Arnold Drive Elementary, Lonoke Middle School and Searcy High School, along with a number of Cabot schools, have received kudos in an updated report recognizing schools with high benchmark schools.

The Cabot schools honored in the report include Magness Creek Elementary, Cabot Middle School South, Cabot Junior High North and Cabot Junior High South and Cabot High School.

In the latest analysis by the University of Arkansas’ Office of Education policy — of the annual required state testing — the benchmark exam, and end of course exams for algebra and geometry and the 11th grade literacy exam — Searcy High School made a number of the top lists.

The school was recognized as No. 1 in geometry in the northeast region and fourth in the state. With 243 students taking the end-of-course geometry exam, 95 percent scored proficient or advanced.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires that all students score proficient or advanced on all federally mandated testing by the year 2014.

Searcy High School was also seventh in the state based on its end-of-course biology exam. Out of 259 students taking the test, 69 percent scored proficient or better. Cabot High School was 11th on the statewide list with 63 percent of its 617 students scoring proficient or advanced.

Those biology scores placed Searcy second in the northeast region and Cabot was third in the central region of the state.

Searcy High School also placed third in the northeast region and ninth statewide in the 11th-grade literacy exam category. Out of 255 students taking the test, 79 percent scored proficient or advanced.

Among junior highs across the state, Cabot Junior High North and Cabot Junior High South were in a 20-way tie for the top spot in geometry achievement.

Both schools had 100 percent of its students score proficient or advanced. At Cabot Junior High North 109 students took the test and 97 took it at Cabot Junior High South.

When it came to the algebra end-of-course exam, Searcy High School was again No. 1 in the northeast region and second in the state with 94 percent of its 201 algebra students scoring proficient or better.

Lonoke Middle School and Ahlf Junior High in Searcy were in a 54-way tie for the top spot in algebra achievement among middle schools. Both schools achieved 100 percent proficient or advanced in algebra. Lonoke Middle School had 30 students taking the test and Ahlf had 44.

Cabot Middle School South ranked fifth in the central region and in a tie for seventh statewide in math achievement with 86 percent of its students scoring proficient or better on the 2009 math benchmark exam.

Southwest Middle School in Searcy tied for the top spot in math achievement in the northeast region with 86 percent of its student scoring proficient or advanced and was in a seventh place tie statewide.

Southwest was also second in the northeast region with 88 percent of its students scoring proficient or better in literacy. Ahlf Jr. High eighth-graders were in a three-way tie for the top spot among eighth-grades in the Northeast Region.

Arnold Drive Elementary placed third in the central region in literacy with 92 percent of its students achieving proficient scores or better. The school’s fourth-graders were second among the region’s fourth-graders with 97 percent of the students scoring proficient or better in literacy.

In math, the school placed in a tie for sixth best in the state with 94 percent of its students scoring proficient or better.

The Magness Creek third graders were in a five-way tie for top math honors among third-graders in the region as 100 percent of the students scored proficient or better. As a whole, the school was in a fifth place tie statewide with 95 percent of its students scoring proficient or better.

Westside Elementary in Searcy, with 87 percent of its students scoring proficient or better in literacy, placed third in the northeast region for literacy.

Students across the state take the annual tests every April. Based on scores, students are considered to be advanced, proficient, basic or below basic.

Schools that do not have enough students scoring in the proficient or advanced range are placed on the state’s improvement list and are subject to additional help or sanctions.

Bentley Kirkland, one of the five authors of report, said that the Office of Education Policy has been analyzing state test scores since 2003 and highlights top performing schools.