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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Heber School District making progress in ADE accountability standards

  • In a follow up to the Heber Springs School Board meeting held in August, the ADE gave the District its report on its Accountability Status on educating its students in math and literacy.
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  • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or Smart Accountability is a measurement used by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to determine how public schools and public school districts are performing academically as shown by the results on standardized tests in mathematics and English language arts. Results are determined for whole school groups as well as for subpopulations of students.
    In a follow up to the Heber Springs School Board meeting held in August the ADE gave the District its report on its Accountability Status on educating its students in math and literacy. The Accountability Status is broken down into five groups they are: Exemplary; Achieving; Needs Improvement; Needs Improvement Focus and; Needs Improvement Priority.
    The ADE gave four accountability status reports to Superintendent Russell Hester, one for the district overall then one for High, Middle and Elementary schools. All students are measured in each report and a sub-population group known as Targeted Achievement Gap Groups (TAGG) is also measured. Within a TAGG there are economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, students who are limited English proficient, African American students, Caucasian students and Hispanic students. When a school has 40 or more test-taking individuals in a subgroup that subgroup must reach the same benchmark for proficiency in both math and literacy as the population as a whole.
    The ADE uses a mathematical formula to determine both the accountability status and a measurable objective percentile to hold the district accountable, i.e., the District’s Accountability Status is Achieving in Literacy for all students and its annual measurable objective is 78.56% for 2011. ADE uses this formula for calculating its percentile; 100%-78.56%=21.44%/2=10.72%/6=1.79%. The ADE uses 78.56% from 2011 adds the sum of 1.79% to its 2012 measurable goal for the District of 80.35% (78.56%+1.79%=80.35%). The formula is used for each year through 2017. The Accountability Status reports are scored in Literacy and Math while the High School has one added measurement, its graduation rate.
    The reports state the District in Literacy is achieving for both groups. In Math both groups need improvement and missed their measurable objectives by less than 1%.
    The High School needs improvement on its graduation rate. Both groups scored under the objective set by the ADE. High School Principal Justin Johnston is challenging the rate with the ADE because the school is held accountable for students who are no longer at the school, they have transferred to another school and Johnston doesn’t know if they’ve graduated from another school or not. Johnston is tracking those students and forwarding their records, he thinks that is why its annual 2011 objective of 82.9% was not met. The current graduation rate for 2011 was 79.14%.
    In Literacy and in Math both groups in high school need improvement.
    Results for Middle School in Literacy for both groups are Achieving and in Math both groups need improvement.
    The Elementary School in Literacy and Math for both groups is Achieving.
    Page 2 of 2 - The school board discussed some points about each report and asked administrators if more staff was needed or what could be done to help them. Middle and High School Administrators assured the board they are working on improving in those areas and have already hired personnel and changed the focus of work descriptions to improve.
    References and descriptions used for this article from the Arkansas Department of Education website, www.arkansased.org.

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