Education






Overall performance on state exams, as well as racial and ethnic disparities, are educational concerns in Arkansas, while high school graduation rates and adult education levels have been improving.

The foundation for a child's education is built early in life with nurturing and enriching interactions with parents and other caregivers. One measure of this is the availability of quality early child care and preschool. While Arkansas has the capacity to serve 61% of preschoolers in quality, public programs, there are only enough quality child care seats to serve 10% of infants and toddlers.  

Once children enter school, performance on exams is a measure of learning. Passing rates on key state exams are rising, with 38% of 3rd graders proficient in reading and 48% of 8th graders proficient in math. Still, this means less than half of students are meeting the state’s new expectations, set in 2018 with the adoption of the ACT Aspire exams.

Females outperformed males on both measures, besting boys by 5 points in reading and 4 points in math. Economically disadvantaged students and racial minorities had the lowest passing rates.

High school graduation rates have risen 11 percentage points since 2010, with 88% of the Class of 2019 graduating on time. Performance was also more even across groups, with all groups posting graduation rates of at least 80% and the most growth among economically disadvantaged (+15 points), Asian (+17), African American (+14 points) and Hispanic (+15 points) students.

However, entering college students show signs of not being fully prepared. In 2017, 31% of first-year students needed a remedial course, and a far larger share (61%), of black students were required to undergo remediation.

Adult education levels are rising, with 87% of Arkansans 25 and older holding at least a high school degree, up 12 percentage points from 2000, and 23% possessing a bachelor’s or higher degree, up 6 points. However, Arkansas lags the nation on these measures: 44th for high school diploma and 49th for bachelor’s. While the share of adults having a least a high school diploma were similar across racial and ethnic groups, there were disparities in those with at least a bachelor’s, 49% for Asian adults compared to 24% of white and 25% of Hispanic and 16% of African American adults.

For those adults without a post-secondary degree, some continue to work toward one. In 2018, 4.4% of Arkansas' working-age adults were enrolled in further education, down from 6.2% in 2011 (a decrease of roughly 27,700 adults in terms of enrollment). The decrease is likely due to improving conditions in the job market.





INDICATORS TREND | STATE
Access to Quality Seats for Infants and Toddlers Not Applicable
Access to Quality Childcare Seats for Preschoolers Not Applicable
Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Grade 8 Math Not Applicable
Graduation Rate Not Applicable
Remediation Rate Not Applicable
Adults with a High School Degree Not Applicable
Adults with a Bachelor's Degree or Higher Not Applicable
Adults Pursuing Further Education Not Applicable
Infant Mortality Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care Not Applicable
Overweight or Obese Students Not Applicable
Student Drug Usage Not Applicable
Overweight or Obese Adults Not Applicable
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Smoking Rate Not Applicable
Flouridated Water Not Applicable
Insurance Coverage Rates Not Applicable
Oral Health Not Applicable
Life Expectancy Not Applicable
Routine Check-ups Not Applicable
Births to Teens Not Applicable
Female-headed Households Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Not Applicable
Elderly Living in Poverty Not Applicable
Median Household Income Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Not Applicable
Homeownership Rate Not Applicable
Child Abuse and Neglect Not Applicable
Access to Financial Services Not Applicable
Food Insecurity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rate Not Applicable
Homelessness Not Applicable
Change in Total Jobs Not Applicable
Housing Affordability - Owning Not Applicable
Housing Affordability - Renting Not Applicable
Households Below ALICE Threshold Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Not Applicable
Charitable Giving Not Applicable
Volunteering Not Applicable
Group Participation Not Applicable
Connection to Neighbors Not Applicable
Local Voting Not Applicable
Change in Population Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age Not Applicable
Adults with a High School Degree Not Applicable
Adults with a Bachelor's Degree or Higher Not Applicable
Female-headed Households Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Not Applicable
Elderly Living in Poverty Not Applicable
Median Household Income Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Not Applicable
Homeownership Rate Not Applicable
Incarceration Rate Not Applicable


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