by Max Brantley
The state Education Department said today that 2011 benchmark test scores (math and literacy, grades 3-8; science grades 5 and 7) showed overall improvement. Overall scores improved in 10 of 14 exams.
Education Director Tom Kimbrell called it solid progress, if not "victory."
This link takes you to a page with links to more detailed reporting.
Progress is progress. I'm not prepared at this moment to evaluate proficiency scores here (some states set pass rates low); how we measure against other states on progress; relative progress among demographic groups, and the many other factors that complicate education results. Just one example off the top, though: In 2011, 61 percent of black third graders were proficient or advanced in literary vs. 82 percent of white students. That's a gap, but narrower and a greater percentage growth among black students since 2006, when the numbers were 35 for blacks and 64 for whites.
Jake? Want to hazard an opinion?
Arkansas's move to common core standards shared by other states should simplify this process. We start next year with use of those in grades K-2.