“Issue school-by-school performance report cards to parents and the public.
Use the results of this report card to hold schools accountable–rewards for those performing on an exceptional basis and sanctions for low performing schools.”  1998 Policy Foundation recommendation

(February 2011) The status of Arkansas’ first formal government report to issue grades to districts based on performance is “pending,” according to education officials but the document is expected to be released later this year.

The report is required by PA 35 of the 2nd Extraordinary Session of 2003.  It requires the department to prepare annual reports of the results of “the statewide assessment program.”  The program “describes student achievement in the state, each district and each school, as well as the school performance category levels.”

The Policy Foundation, a non-profit issued letter grades to Arkansas school districts in the 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years.  The grades were issued on the basis of student performance on standardized national tests.

Number Grades

The pending report, according to PA 35 is a number, not letter-based system that relies on the following category levels:

“Level 5”, schools of excellence;

“Level 4”, schools exceeding standards;

“Level 3”, schools meeting standards;

“Level 2”, schools on alert; or

“Level 1”, schools in need of immediate improvement. (1)

Schools were not assigned annual performance category levels for the years 2004-2005 through 2008-2009 unless they requested the rating.

The pending report is being compiled by the National Office for Research, Measurement and Evaluation Systems at the Univ. of Arkansas-Fayetteville. (2)

(1)   http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2003/S2/Acts/Act35.pdf

(2)   http://normes.uark.edu