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School pushed to benchmarks; 3rd-graders perfect

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Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:49 pm | Updated: 3:52 pm, Wed Jul 18, 2012.

ST. JOE — Ozark Mountain School superintendent Joe Hulsey and Western Grove principal Jayme Jones led applause during the June board meeting for test scores on the Bruno-Pyatt campus.

Bruno-Pyatt principal Bob Ricketts said the third-grade class scored a perfect 100 percent on both the math and literacy sections of the benchmark exams. That means that every student in the third grade at Bruno-Pyatt scored either advanced or proficient.

The state average for third-grade math is 87 percent and for literacy is 81 percent.

Ricketts said the fourth-grade class also scored 100 percent in math.

According to the Arkansas Department of Education, benchmark exams refer to the six criterion-referenced tests that are administered to Arkansas students in grades 3 - 8. The tests are used to establish standards for judging students’ performance.

“Teachers and students can use benchmarks to determine the quality of a student’s work,” according the website. “Benchmarks can be used to tell what students should know by a particular stage of their schooling.

As an example, the state department said students should be able to locate major cities and other geographical features on each of the continents by the end of the sixth grade.

Jones distributed graphs at the June board meeting to show how Western Grove students have progressed, when compared against state averages and against last year’s scores on the campus.

He said the results show the Western Grove campus has progressed from school improvement to safe harbor on its benchmarks for adequate yearly progress when measured using the federally-mandated No Child Left Behind.

In addition to the growth model, schools can also make AYP by meeting “safe harbor.” Schools qualify for safe harbor if they have a 91.13 percent attendance rate or a 73.9 graduation rate and have 95 percent or more of their students taking the Benchmarks in addition to reducing the number of students scoring below proficient by 10 percent.

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