Skinner addresses decrease in district performance score

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New grading system has scores falling statewide

Annual School and District letter grades were released Thursday, Nov. 8• This sensitive issue will carry extra significance this year because of changes the state has made to how schools and districts are rated. Grade assignments are expected to drop because of these changes. On average, performance indexes will drop between 15-25 points. Advanced placement stayed at 150 points. Mastery dropped from 125 to 100 points. Basic dropped from 100 to 80 points. This means school and district performance scores that have been previously middle to low A’s will be B’s under the new formula, and scores that are usually middle or low B’s will be C’s.

This chart shows the effect of the letter grade due to the recent changes in the state’s scoring system. The first column shows the current letter grade for Natchitoches Parish, a C with a score of 72.4. Under the old formula, the district would have earned a B, with a score of 86.4. The new formula makes it more difficult for a school or district to obtain an A or B letter grade. Less value is placed on the student testing scores. For example, under the old formula, a status of Mastery earned 125 points. The new formula only values Mastery at 100 points while the total points needed to earn a letter grade did not change.

This formula will make it harder for schools and school districts to earn an A or B rating. This fall, schools will receive two letter grades under this new revamped system, one under the previous formula and one under the new formula. This is being done by the state because of concerns on how parents, teachers, community leaders and others will react when top marks plunge under the new, tougher rules.

The number of F-rated schools will increase by 57 percent and the number of A-rated schools will drop 38 percent under this new formula. This is according to data analysis supported by the Louisiana Department of Education. This new accountability plan is part of a four-point program to fully implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Louisiana. These points include: (1) Report cards published online (LA School Finder); (2) Measurement of each student’s progress; (3) Achievement progress of each sub group; and (4) Consolidation of federal grant processes into one plan. This new rigor is aimed at making students more competitive on a national and international level.

This chart shows the letter grades for schools within the parish. The fourth and fifth columns show the letter grade and score under the new formula. The next two columns show the letter grade and score under the old formula. The eighth and ninth colums show the 2017 letter grades and scores by comparison.

“We, as educators, are always open to and welcome higher expectations for all of our students. We always want our students to be the best educated they can possibly be. We understand we must “raise the bar”, but we also understand that it is a long, drawn-out process. In this process there will be many bumps and bruises, many holes in the road, and many hills to climb. We accept the challenge and will do the best we can with this new endeavor, just as we have always done. We ask that all of our stakeholders be patient and supportive in taking on this new challenging task. Our teachers, students and administrators have worked very hard to perform exceptionally well. We will continue to do so,” said Dale Skinner, Superintendent.

This frame from www.Louisianaschools.com showing information on NCHS.

The Louisiana School Finder mentioned above can be accessed at www.louisianaschools.com. Enter center or school name or your zip code. School performance scores and early childhood performance ratings will be available. In addition basic information such as address, website, hours, principal’s name, course offerings, clubs, athletics, enrichment and other extracurricular opportunities are listed.