For data nerds in Alabama, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) has released its annual red/green test score comparison of Alabama schools’ results on the Alabama Test of Reading and Math (ARMT) given last spring.
The comparison allows schools and the public to know whether the portion of a school’s students performing at Level IV (the highest level on the ARMT) is above or below the state average. Scoring a Level IV on the ARMT is the only ARMT Level that aligns with “Proficient” or “Advanced” on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Due to the low cut scores on the ARMT, Levels I-III equate to “Below Basic and “Basic” on NAEP.
The PARCA analysis breaks down students into subgroups for each system and school:
- white students
- non-white students
- students who qualify for free and reduced lunch (FRL)
- students who do not qualify for FRL
Information for each system and school is available on PARCA’s website, and it’s worth taking some time to browse the data for yourself to see what you can find. The data abound. There are examples of bright spots and not-so-bright spots across the state. Let us know if you find anything interesting!
At A+, a few things stood out when we browsed through this year’s numbers and looked at the trends from the last five years, but this list is by no means exhaustive:
- Despite the turmoil in Birmingham City Schools due to Board activity and the state takeover, there are several schools there that are making notable improvements. Barrett Elementary, Christian Alternative, Hudson K-8, South Hampton, and Wilson Elementary have all trended upward in their scores over the last few years.
- Since Dothan City Schools have earned notoriety for its success reducing its dropout rate, it should come as no surprise that it is also doing well at the elementary and middle school levels.
- In the Black Belt, Hale County, Selma City and Perry County are all showing exciting progress.
- Mobile County Schools, with its eight Torchbearers, continues to prove that low-income children can learn at high levels.
- Down south, Conecuh County Schools and Troy City Schools have seen big gains, particularly among low-income students.
- And, to the north, Cullman City Schools is showing consistent progress.
Again, this list is not exhaustive, and we’ve probably overlooked notable achievements. Dive into the data, and when you come up, let us know what you’ve found!