Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



Political Science


McKenzie, Sarah

Committee Member/Reader

Parry, Janine

Committee Member/Second Reader

Tumlison, Creed

Committee Member/Third Reader

Bustamente, Juan Jose


My honors thesis is a comprehensive overview of the relationship between the COVID19 response of Arkansas’ nine largest school districts on high school students’ Value-Added Growth Scores (VAS). I wrote my thesis on the intersection between districts’ COVID-19 response and the academic success of their students because the COVID-19 pandemic caused a historically significant change in education. The effects of switching from in-person, mask-free learning to virtual, semi-virtual and socially distanced learning certainly affected students’ ability to learn from the educational environment pre-COVID. I chose to utilize the VAS as the metric for student success because it measures how students increase their academic learning throughout a school year. The VAS uses a predictive linear model to track if students improved more or less than typical for other students across the state with similar prior test score histories. Academic Growth Scores are calculated every year and would not have been affected by COVID, making it possible to compare changes related to differences in district policy responses to COVID. I believe there is importance to understanding how COVID policies affect student achievement in public schools. Educational policy should be prescribed with the intent for advancing student achievement. When COVID began to cause serious shifts in the learning modality of education, I began to think about how certain policies would affect how students learn. My research is aimed to address the nature of the relationship between COVID policies and student achievement


COVID-19, Educational Policy, Public Education, Learning Modality, Student Achievement Growth