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Education notebook

by Cynthia Howell | July 6, 2014 at 1:55 a.m.

State posts examresults on website

The district-by-district, school-by-school and grade-by-grade results from the 2014 Arkansas Augmented Benchmark Exam are now available for public viewing on the Arkansas Department of Education website.

Agency leaders posted the detailed spreadsheets Thursday. They posted statewide summary reports a little earlier in the week for the math and literacy exams that were given for the final time this spring in grades three through eight.

Results from the spring administration of the state's End-of-Course Algebra I, geometry and biology exams are forthcoming.

The Benchmark and End-of-Course testing program is about 15 years old, having started in a few grades and expanding over time.

The 2014 results are accessible at the following website: www.arkansased.org/divisions/learning-services/student-assessment/test-scores.

New test systemto move forward

Arkansas' public school student testing system is to be replaced in the 2014-15 school year with the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams, but the purchase of the exams by Arkansas and other states was caught up in a New Mexico procurement dispute.

Now, it's been resolved.

The partnership assessment organization -- of which Arkansas is a member -- announced Thursday that the New Mexico State Procurement Office denied a protest by a vendor over the awarding of the testing contract to another company.

The formal protest had delayed preparation of the contract for the tests that are scheduled to be given in the coming year, the partnership organization said in a news release, adding that the work can now proceed.

The Arkansas Department of Education had set Wednesday as a deadline for deciding whether to begin steps to solicit bids and to award its own contract to produce the exams. Department staff will report on the status of the testing plan to the Arkansas Board of Education on Thursday.

Building projectslist to be released

The state agency division that manages the state's multimillion-dollar funding program for public school construction and renovation plans to release on Thursday the projects that have been approved and disapproved for the 2015-17 funding cycle.

The Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation Division of the Arkansas Department of Education is releasing the list nine months earlier than has been typical in past years.

The early release of projects that are disapproved will give school districts more time to appeal if they are unhappy with the decision or make other plans for the building needs without having to wait months for a decision from the division, Murray Britton, senior project administrator for the division, said Wednesday.

School districts submitted the applications for state funds by the March 1 deadline. The division isn't required to decide on the applications until May 1, 2015.

The lists of projects this week will not include any dollar amounts for the state's share of project costs. The amount of money that will be available from the state for the construction won't be known until early next year.

8 schools appealacademic distress

The Arkansas Board of Education will hear appeals Thursday from eight of the 32 schools recently identified as being in "academic distress" because fewer than half of their students, on a three-year average, scored at least proficient on state exams.

This is the first year that the Arkansas Department of Education has singled out schools as being in academic distress. The state Board of Education will have to vote on the designation to make it final for any or all of the 32 schools.

The schools and districts that are challenging the designation are Marvel-Elaine High, Watson Chapel High, Badger Academy in Beebe, Cabot Learning Academy, Summit School in the Hot Springs School District, Hamilton Learning Academy and Accelerated Learning Program in the Little Rock School District, and Belle Pointe Alternative Center in the Fort Smith School District.

Metro on 07/06/2014

Print Headline: Education notebook

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