5 out of 6 SWLA districts beat state in LEAP scores

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Students in 5 out of 6 school districts across southwest Louisiana outperformed the overall state percentage of students passing the LEAP test for spring 2011.

The Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) tests measure the grade level expectations for 4th and 8th grade students in the state. Students do not receive a pass or fail grade, however, they receive an achievement level score.

In Southwest Louisiana, 5 out of 6 parishes scored above the state's average in the 2011 LEAP tests. Statewide 80% of 4th grade students scored at the "approaching basic" or "basic" level on the 2011 LEAP tests. Seventy-four percent of 8th grade students statewide scored in this range.

In Allen Parish, 89% of 4th grade students scored basic or above while 83% of 8th graders scored in that range. In Beauregard Parish, 84% of the 4th grade students met the basic achievement rating, while the percentage of 8th graders who scored at this level was slightly lower than the state's average at 73%. In Calcasieu Parish, 85% of students met the basic requirement level while 81% of 8th grade students met the basic level. In Cameron Parish, 81% of 4th graders achieved the basic level while 85% of students in 8th grade scored in this range. In Jeff Davis Parish, 86% of 4th grade students scored basic or above while 77% of 8th grade students scored in that level. In Vernon Parish, 89% of 4th grade students scored at basic level while 86% of 8th graders also performed within that range.

Students must meet the basic level of performance on the test to go onto the next grade. If students fail to meet "approaching basic" or "basic" level, they will be forced to go to summer school and retake the test.

In Calcasieu Parish, 353 students will be retaking the test as a result of scoring less than basic on this year's LEAP test. A total of 381 students in the 8th grade will also be forced to retake the LEAP test.

Wayne Savoy, Superintendent of Calcasieu Parish Schools, said the 2011 LEAP results showed a slight improvement from last year.

"Our 4th graders and our 8th graders have improved the skills necessary to be promoted to the next grade by 3 percent in each category," said Savoy.

Savoy said they plan to continue the same teaching practices so that even less students will be retaking the test next year.

"We're making adjustments and we're making strides," said Savoy. "We're trying to find better ways to instruct our children. We're getting better and better at using data to understand the needs of our children."

Students that did not score at "approaching basic" or "basic" levels will be enrolled in a summer remediation program. The students will have the chance to retake the test at a later date.