Gov. Mike Beebe's office has announced that Arkansas led the nation in score improvement on Advanced Placement tests for English, math and science.
The news release is a brief summary. I'm betting our good showing is in part due to the fact that our scores have been low and so larger percentage gains are more possible. But our scores have been so low because of Arkansas's worthy effort to have a great deal more students enroll in AP courses. As the Beebe news release notes, a focused effort on several school districts has produced some strong results in Arkansas.
BEEBE NEWS RELEASE
Arkansas students rank #1 in the United States for increased qualifying scores on math, science and English Advanced Placement tests between 2009 and 2010. The top ranking is for both overall student achievement and for minority student achievement. The news was announced today at the monthly Board of Education meeting.
"This is a proud day for Arkansas and a sign that more of our students are getting an excellent, and not just an adequate, education," Governor Mike Beebe said. "We will continue this momentum, both to make ongoing improvements, as well as to sustain these outstanding achievements.
Much of the credit for the improvements is attributed to the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science (AAIMS), which has been implementing its three-year program with a grant from the National Math and Science Initiative. The AAIMS program has combined training, teacher-and-student support and incentives in 24 schools throughout Arkansas during its first two years. The second set of schools added this past year saw a 74% increase in qualifying AP scores in math, science, and English, nine times the national average. The first group of schools, announced in 2008, saw a 69% two-year increase in qualifying students, and a 202% two-year increase for minority students in math, science, and English.