DOE officials focus on process rather than LEAP/iLEAP results

(Source: MGN Online)
(Source: MGN Online)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - LEAP and iLEAP results are out, and Louisiana Department of Education officials say results are steady, and they're on track for gradually raising the bar. By 2025, 'A-rated' schools should have students that are college and workplace ready.

State Education Superintendent John White addressed reporters via teleconference Tuesday. He didn't talk much about the results. Instead, he focused on the process and where the state is headed, since this year was the last LEAP test for students.

While LEAP and iLEAP results are in for Louisiana schools, Judy Vail, Accountability Coordinator for Calcasieu Parish schools says, "The results of the 2014 test really cannot be compared to the previous year, because they were not the same exact type of test."

Vail says this year's test included Common Core standards and is part of a three-year transition as they move towards the PARCC test, which will be administered next year.

"PARCC will be a totally different design of a test and will measure conceptual understanding of students as much as it will measure proficiency," said Vail.

By 2025, the goal of the state's Department of Education is to have more students perform at a 'mastery' level, compared to the 1999 'basic' level of expectation.

This year, 26 percent of Calcasieu Parish students hit the 'mastery' level, compared to 24 percent statewide.

69 percent of students statewide achieved 'basic' results or better -- again, Calcasieu surpassing the average at 74 percent.

When it comes to passing the test, Calcasieu saw that fourth graders did much better than eighth graders.

"In Calcasieu, in 2013, 81 percent of our students passed the LEAP, this year only 77 percent did, so we had somewhat of a drop in Calcasieu with our eighth graders passing the LEAP," said Vail.

Vail says they expect those students to catch up to Common Core standards in the coming years.

In terms of what schools need to do to improve their scores for next year, Vail says it's not a simple answer.

"It's very difficult to put this altogether and learn all these new things over a two- or three-year period. This is something I think is going to be ongoing for several years, to me, that's the way you raise test scores," said Vail.

Vail says the results rank Calcasieu Parish as 17th in the state, based on the percent of students that achieved 'basic' and above, but they expect exams to become more difficult as they move towards 'higher expectations.

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