LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education released abbreviated versions of the 2020 School Report Cards for schools, districts, and the state. During the 2019-2020 school year, events related to COVID-19 caused a substantial disruption to onsite instruction, assessment, accountability, and reporting. Because of these events, some data typically included in accountability and reporting are not available; however, the data that are available can be used alongside other measurements to determine student and school success.

“There is no doubt that COVID has had a significant impact on student learning,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “While we don’t have all the data we would like to have to measure student and school success for the 2019-2020 school year, the 2020 School Report Cards still provide valuable information that can be used to identify best practices and areas that need improvement. I encourage parents and educators to review the data and use it to make informed decisions regarding student learning moving forward.”

Graduation rate data for 2020 is one data point that is available. The four-year graduation rate for 2020 increased from 87.6 percent to 88.8 percent. The 2020 graduation rate will be utilized in the 2021 ESSA School Index.

Because COVID caused the closure of school buildings last spring, states received assessment waivers from conducting federally-required state testing. This lack of assessment data, which measures how much a student knows, impacted other data elements in the Report Cards, as assessment data are used in multiple calculations. As a result, the reporting of a school’s letter grade for 2019-2020 was waived. (To learn more about the impact of COVID on state and federal accountability and reporting, go to https://bit.ly/3qe6Hin.)

To clarify the availability of information, each module in this year’s reports has a colored indicator that reflects data availability. A green indicator means the module is complete; a yellow indicator signifies that some of the data are available; a red indicator means that information is still needed to complete that module, and an orange indicator signifies a COVID-19 disruption and that data are unavailable for the 2019-2020 school year. Also, any value within a module marked as CV indicates a disruption due to COVID and that data are unavailable for the 2019-2020 school year. All available modules will be completed by April 15, 2021.

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