St. Landry Parish students struggle on test

Common Core results released
By Harlan Kirgan Editor

St. Landry Parish eighth-grade students scored below the overall state scores in nearly every test area of the Common Core test given in Spring 2015.
State, district and individual school scores for third- through eighth-grade test results were released Thursday by the Louisiana Department of Education.
About 320,000 students in grades three through eight in Louisiana took the tests in March and May.
Test results were separated into five categories: Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic and Unsatisfactory.
Under the state’s plan, mastery, not “basic,” will be the average score for an A-rated school in 2025.
In state results in English Language Arts, 40 percent of eighth-grade students scored either Advanced or Mastery. In St. Landry Parish 35 percent of the students scored Advanced or Mastery.
In state results in Mathematics, 28 percent of the eighth-grade students achieved a Advanced or Mastery score. In St. Landry Parish, 23 percent of the students scored Advanced or Mastery.
In Science, 19 percent of eighth-grade students in the state reached Advanced or Mastery, compared to 9 percent in St. Landry Parish.
In Social Studies, 15 percent of the eighth-grade students in the state attained Advanced or Mastery, compared to 7 percent in St. Landry Parish.
St. Landry Parish eighth grade scores most closely matched those in the state at the Basic level. In English Language Arts, 30 percent reached Basic; in St. Landry Parish it was 33 percent.
In Mathematics, 23 percent of state eighth-grade students reached Basic compared to 27 percent in St. Landry Parish.
In Science, 38 percent of state eighth-graders scored at the Basic level compared to 38 percent in St. Landry Parish.
And, in Social Studies, 44 percent of the state’s eighth-graders attained Basic level compared to 44 percent in St. Landry Parish.
State eighth-graders scoring at Approaching Basic or Unsatisfactory were 30 percent, English Language Arts; 45 percent, Mathematics; 43 percent, Science; and 40 percent, Social Studies.
In St. Landry Parish, eighth-graders scoring Approaching Basic or Unsatisfactory were 29 percent, English Language Arts; 50 percent, Mathematics; 53 percent, Science; and 48 percent, Social Studies.
State Superintendent of Education John White, quoted in The Advocate, said, “The test basically differentiated performance to a greater degree than they did on LEAP.”
He added, “By having harder questions but graded the same way as in the past, you are giving advanced kids more opportunity.”
State education leaders said that, in general, scores rose because the Common Core tests are more conducive to letting the best students demonstrate their skills than the multiple-choice bubble tests used in the past, The Advocate reported.
The Louisiana Educational Assessment Program was given last year for the final time.
The old standard, White said, did not provide students with the skills needed for education after high school.
Even with the rise in high-end scores, the state faces a huge challenge in making mastery the benchmark, The Advocate reported.
Most of the top 10 school districts — half from the Baton Rouge area — were at 50 percent or lower in terms of students who met the state’s long-range target, The Advocate reported.
The state average was 33 percent, The Advocate reported.
In addition, while the new test format helped the best students, it hurt others who struggled to reach basic in the past, The Advocate reported.
Eighth-grade students in Acadia Parish were scored Advanced or Mastery were: 40 percent, English Language Arts; 32 percent, Mathmatics; 19 percent, Science; and 15 percent, Social Studies.
The top school districts with a Advanced are Mastery were Zachary Community School District, 59 percent; Orleans (without previously failing school assigned to the Recovery School District,52 percent; Ascension Parish, 49 percent; St. Charles Parish, 49 percent; St. Tammany Parish, 47 percent; Plaquemines Parish, 46 percent; West Feliciana Parish, 46 percent; Central Community School District, 45 percent; Livingston Parish, 43 percent; Vernon Parish, 42 percent.
High school results are scheduled to be released Thursday.
About 5 million students in grades 3 to 8 took the Common Core in 11 states and the District of Columbia in the spring of 2015.


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