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Arkansas schools receive lower grades on their school performance report



Little Rock, Arkansas – The 2022 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) school index and school rating report were made public on Wednesday by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE).

The ADE claims that this year is the first time in three years that schools have earned marks because neither evaluations nor accountability reports were made public in 2020.

Due to disruptions in student learning, according to ADE, evaluations, and accountability reports were sent in 2021, however, schools were not assigned a grade for 2020 or 2021.

32% of the public schools in the state of Arkansas received a grade of “D” or “F” overall for 2022 according to the ESSA.

60% of schools scored a “B” or “C,” and only 8% of schools received an “A.”

In addition to the report, the ADE held a public discussion about the grading and scores in Plumberville, Arkansas.

According to Deb Coffman, Assistant Commissioner at ADE, a number of factors, including poverty, affected the grades each school obtained.

“The majority of our public school students are struggling with some form of poverty, and we know there is a negative relationship between achievement and poverty,” Coffman said.

Coffman also mentioned how the epidemic affected kids’ learning, and how inconsistent instruction hurt younger children and individuals with impairments the most.

Although the pandemic assisted in the introduction of new methods for learning, Jessica Saum, Arkansas’ 2022 teacher of the year, claimed that these tools didn’t provide the same opportunities for learning as in-person instruction.

Saum claimed that, in some cases, the usage of new technology outside of the classroom led to absences, which had an impact on academic performance.

“Parents would be taking their kids out of town going on a family vacation and said, ‘Well can you just upload the work on Google Classroom, and we’ll get caught up,’ Saum said. “We know that’s not the same. That is a great option for them to have access but that is not replacing classroom learning and those experiences that students have.

The presence of inexperienced or unprepared teachers, according to Coffman, was another aspect that affected schools.

“We know that COVID exacerbated the need for teachers,” Coffman “We do expect within the next few months to have a lot of positive news about the teacher pipeline refilling.”

Attendees of the briefing from schools all throughout the state discussed the advancements made by respective institutions.

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