Test results released by the Arkansas Department of Education on Tuesday revealed students’ scores on Algebra I and geometry end-of-course exams in Faulkner County improved this year, but their scores on biology exams declined.

In the Conway School District, the number of students scoring proficient or higher on the Algebra I exam was up 7 percent from last year. The number of students scoring proficient or higher also rose 1 percent over last year on geometry exams. The number of students scoring proficient or higher on the biology exam were down 7 percent from 2009. 

Conway Superintendent Greg Murry attributed the higher scores to an increased focus by the staff on students’ individual needs in preparing for the exams. 

“As for the decrease on the biology exams, I think that if the results are down statewide, it’s probably an issue that is larger than just the school district itself, perhaps even an issue with the test,” Murry said.  

In the Greenbrier School District, test results were consistent with 2009 scores, with 89 percent of students scoring proficient or higher. The number of students scoring proficient or higher also rose 6 percent on geometry exams. The number of students scoring proficient on higher on the biology exam decreased 7 percent from 2009.

“We are very pleased with our students’ test scores this year. Our geometry scores continued an upward trend and were the highest in Faulkner County. Our Algebra I scores were also among the highest in the county. Our biology data reflected a statewide decrease in average scores this year, however Greenbrier’s scores remained high relative to other districts in the state. We attribute the growth in our students’ achievement to the district’s focus of instructional leadership through the building principals and the hard work of the district’s teachers in implementing effective instructional strategies,” Scott Spainhour, superintendent of Greenbrier schools said.

The 2009-10 school year was the first in which students had to earn a passing score on the Algebra I test to remain eligible for a diploma.

A breakdown of the results by school district is as follows:

• In the Conway School District, 92 percent of the students who took the Algebra I exam scored proficient or higher, compared to 85 percent in 2009. 

On the geometry exam, 81 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 80 percent in 2009.

On the biology exam, 57 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 64 percent in 2009.

• In the Greenbrier School District, 89 percent of the students who took the Algebra I exam scored proficient or higher, no change over 89 percent in 2009.

On the geometry exam, 782 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 76 percent in 2009.

On the biology exam, 49 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 56 percent in 2009.

• In the Vilonia School District, 92 percent of the students who took the Algebra I exam scored proficient or higher, compared to 90 percent in 2009.

On the geometry exam, 75 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 67 percent in 2009.

On the biology exam, 48 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 58 percent in 2009.

• In the Mayflower School District, 78 percent of the students who took the Algebra I exam scored proficient or higher, compared to 63 percent in 2009.

On the geometry exam, 80 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 63 percent in 2009.

On the biology exam, 17 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 38 percent in 2009.

• In the Guy School District, 76 percent of the students who took the Algebra I exam scored proficient or higher, compared to 62 percent in 2009.

On the geometry exam, 69 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 64 percent in 2009.

On the biology exam, 37 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 40 percent in 2009.

•In the Quitman School District, 76 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 62 percent in 2009.

On the geometry exam, 86 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 80 percent in 2009.

On the biology exam, 58 percent of the students tested scored proficient or higher, up from 29 percent in 2009.

•In the Mount Vernon-Enola School District, 97 percent of students who took the Algebra I exam scored proficient or higher, compared to 73 percent in 2009.

On the geometry exam, 100 percent of students tested scored proficient or higher, compared to 58 percent in 2009.

On the biology exam, no results were reported for 2010.  30 percent of students tested in 2009 scored proficient or higher.

Statewide test results can be found on ADE’s website at http://www.arkansased.org/testing/test_scores.html.

(Staff writer Megan Reynolds can be reached by e-mail at megan.reynolds@thecabin.net, or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)