NWA Education Report Card Provides Meaningful Comparisons to Schools Across U.S.

An annual publication to help Northwest Arkansas residents and newcomers better understand the educational performance of the region’s schools is being made public today.

The 2015 Northwest Arkansas Report Card, which is published by the Office for Education Policy at the University of Arkansas in partnership with the Northwest Arkansas Council, shows Northwest Arkansas students outperform their peers in other Arkansas regions. Additionally, many school districts in Northwest Arkansas compare favorably to schools across the U.S.

The report pulls together information from a variety of publicly available resources, making it simple for educators, school administrators, parents and state lawmakers to see how schools are performing.

“The district ‘dashboard’ format makes the information easy to understand,” said Sarah McKenzie, executive director for the University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy. “Parents, educators and policymakers should all take a look and ask, ‘Where are we doing well and where do we need to improve?’”

“One of the newest pieces, is the comparison between Northwest Arkansas and a few metropolitan areas across the U.S. We have always tried to make meaningful comparisons, and newly released data from Stanford University gets us one step closer.”

The Northwest Arkansas Council is a partner in the report’s publication because the region’s companies are filling jobs with relocating executives from across the U.S. who want information about schools. Those moving to Northwest Arkansas want high-quality jobs, a good quality of life and assurances that their children will have good educational experiences, said Mike Malone, the Council’s president and CEO.

The 32-page report card, which can be found on the Office for Education Policy's website, shows how students in 15 school districts and three charter schools are performing. There’s information about enrollment growth, per pupil expenditures, average class sizes, high school graduation rates, students’ test scores and student demographics.

There are other education-focused reports available that could be used for a more detailed evaluation of school districts. They are also on the Office for Education Policy website.