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Students perform well on exams

White Hall School District students fared well in the spring end-of course examinations in biology, geometry and algebra 1, according to Dorothy Welch, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology.

District-wide, every grade level from third- through eighth-grade reflected academic gains in the Benchmark tests administered in April.

End-of-course exams are administered from April to May to students in grades 9 to 12. Several eighth grade classes in the district also take the algebra end-of-course exams.

End-of-course results by subject:

Biology: Fifty percent of the students tested proficient or advanced, above regional and state averages. Thirty-eight percent had scores of basic, the same as regional and state averages.

Geometry: Eighty-three percent of the students tested proficient or advanced, well above regional and state averages.

Algebra 1: Ninety percent of the students tested proficient or advanced. The percentage testing advanced was 54 percent, 15-16 percentage points above regional and state, averages.

“Each year they improve,” Welch said of the end-of-course scores.

Benchmark and end-of-course exam scores will become the standard or reference point under new state flexibility standards since Arkansas schools no longer must meet the No Child Left Behind regulations.

Superintendent Dr. Larry Smith said educators now must focus on “closing the gap” between students at the low and high ends of the academic scale.

The White Hall district is the only Jefferson County district that has not had a school placed on the Arkansas Department of Education’s initial lists of lower performing schools.

The state has taken over the Dollarway School District, which had three schools among 48 schools the state designated as among the lowest performing schools in Arkansas. Five schools in the Pine Bluff School District were also among the lowest performing schools on the state list.

Watson Chapel High School was one of 109 identified as “Needs Improvement Focus Schools.”