The Arkansas Department of Education today released the results of this spring’s ACT Aspire standardized tests. Public schools give the exam to students in grades 3-10. Because of the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the state scrapped the exam last year.

One headline of the department’s press release is “97 Percent of Students Complete Assessment,” which gives you a sense of the results. It’s also perhaps meant as a rebuke to those, especially in Little Rock, who called for parents whose children were enrolled in virtual school to opt out of the test. I was ambivalent about it, but satisfied with the safety procedures my son’s school took, and he’s the rare weird kid who likes taking standardized tests, so we let him go.


In the release, the education department suggests that the results will be useful in addressing learning loss this school year.

Standard nota bene: Experts agree that standardized tests closely correlate to the income level of students’ families.


I haven’t done a deep dive into the numbers, but the department notes that math scores were especially down. For example, ADE highlights, “34.60 percent of students in grade 5 meeting math readiness benchmarks compared to 49.17 percent in 2019.”

You can download an Excel file of how each grade tested at each school in the state did.


Said Education Secretary Johnny Key:

“The results are not surprising and reflect a learning loss that was expected not only here in Arkansas but around the country. Because Arkansas schools were open since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, we are confident that additional learning loss was mitigated. We now have reliable, accurate data, along with other measures, to help us identify where the biggest impacts occurred. We clearly have a lot of work to do to accelerate learning this school year; however, we are committed to providing additional supports to assist districts in their efforts this school year.”