LEAP results show steady improvement in all subjects

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Parish just below the state average in all courses for both advanced and mastery.

Louisiana students have steadily improved performance on Louisiana Educational Assessment Program, or LEAP 2025, assessments in English language arts (ELA), math, and social studies since last year and since 2015, according to data released today by the state Department of Education. Today’s release is the first in a series of three reports that paint a picture of how well students in each grade are mastering key skills and concepts. The next report, which will focus not just on performance levels but on each student’s annual progress, will be released in August.

Natchitoches Wood

“In its Every Student Succeeds Act plan, Louisiana outlined ambitious academic expectations to guide us through 2025,” said State Superintendent John White. “The results released today show our students and educators are making gains year over year. The results also illuminate the challenges ahead, in particular the needs of struggling students who are often falling behind as math concepts get more complex or because they have not mastered the fundamentals of reading.” 2019 LEAP 2025 Results Among the key takeaways, the 2019 LEAP 2025 results show:

• Louisiana’s students score highest and have seen the greatest improvement since 2015 in ELA. To continue this trend, Louisiana must commit to building foundations of literacy in grades K-2. The percent of grade 3-8 LEAP 2025 ELA tests scoring Mastery and above was 44 percent in 2019, up from 43 percent in 2018 and 37 percent in 2015. Results for grades 3-12 in 2018 and 2019 were the same as grades 3-8.

• Though math performance has improved since 2015, the results highlight an ongoing need for stronger math instruction, particularly in the later elementary and middle school grades. The percent of LEAP 2025 math tests scoring Mastery and above in grades 3-8 was 34 percent in 2019, up from 32 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2015. Overall, across all tested grades, the percentage of math tests scoring Mastery and above increased to 35 percent in 2019, up from 33 percent in 2018. The grade-by-grade 2019 results show math proficiency begins to slow in grades 6 and 7, halt in grade 8 and then decrease in Algebra I.

 

 

• Social studies results are improving at a pace similar to ELA and math but overall performance remains significantly lower than in ELA and math. The percent of LEAP 2025 social studies tests scoring Mastery and above in grades 3-8 was 28 percent in 2019, up from 27 percent in 2018 and 25 percent in 2017. Overall, across all tested grades, the percentage of social studies tests scoring Mastery and above remained steady from 2018 to 2019, at 28 percent. Long-term data are not available, as these assessments were updated in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.

• Louisiana has improved performance among most historically disadvantaged student groups since 2015; however, achievement gaps are pronounced and, in some cases, growing. This trend is particularly true for students with disabilities and English learners, who have not seen improvement at the rate of their peers.

• This year, 70 percent of school systems improved across ELA, math, and social studies. The three school systems with the most improved performance over that time include LaSalle Parish (+5 percentage points), Central Community School District (+4 percentage points), and DeSoto Parish (+4 percentage points).

Strategies for Improvement Louisiana must continue to address persistent challenges, including:

• Building a solid foundation of literacy. The Department will staff and support the new Louisiana Early Literacy Commission, created by legislation in 2019, to study and make recommendations for the development and implementation of an aligned system that provides effective evidence-based reading instruction for children from birth through third grade.

• Strengthening social studies instruction. Louisiana is now piloting an innovative joint ELA and social studies assessment, in part, to encourage teachers to focus more on knowledge building and to more closely collaborate with their peers across subjects.

• Enhancing supports for diverse and struggling students. The Department will add supports to its nationally recognized ELA Guidebooks curriculum to help educators support their most diverse and struggling students, including English learners, in the core classroom. The Department will also train 640 Intervention Content Leaders, teachers and administrators who implement academic interventions to ensure all students, including those who struggle most, are gaining academic ground.

• Providing increased support to struggling schools. Louisiana has an annual process of identifying and funding struggling schools’ research-based, tailored plans for improvement. In 2019-2020, Louisiana will support these struggling schools as they implement high quality curricula and expand professional development opportunities for both administrators and educators through School Support Institutes, which kicked off at the Teacher Leader Summit with a track specific to helping school leaders in these schools prepare for the upcoming school year. Additionally, the Department is training thousands of teachers to serve as Content Leaders, content experts who are equipped to provide curriculum-specific training to their peers, or Mentor Teachers, professionally trained coaches to aspiring and new teachers.

Next Steps

School systems have started to send home student reports for LEAP 2025 ELA, math and social studies to families and students, along with a copy of the Parent Guide to the LEAP 2025 Student Reports. Translated versions of the Parent Guide are available in the Family Support Toolbox library on the Department’s website.  School systems will also use LEAP 2025 results as one source of information with which to determine supports students need. Under state law, students who have not met basic proficiency standards must receive intensive support over the summer or throughout the year.

Next, the Department will release 2018-2019 student progress results to schools and teachers showing how well students are progressing toward Mastery. Value-added results will be released to school systems at the start of the new school year to provide teachers with information on how students improved relative to their peers during the previous year.  Finally, these results will be factored into school and school system performance scores, which will be made available along with accompanying letter grade equivalents and detailed profiles, through the Louisiana School Finder later this fall.

“The LEAP results, progress results and school report cards combine to provide educators and families the opportunity to understand where their students are and what we can do to best prepare them for the next grade level, for college and career, and for lifelong success,” said Holly Boffy, vice president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. “I am proud of the steady LEAP improvements we have seen since last year and over time, and I look forward to additional performance results in the coming months.”

About the LEAP 2025 Assessments

LEAP 2025 includes assessments of ELA, math, science, and social studies for grades 3-12. The tests measure the knowledge and skills defined by the state’s content standards for each grade. Student scores are reported on five levels: Unsatisfactory, Approaching Basic, Basic, Mastery, or Advanced. Students scoring Mastery and Advanced are considered proficient, or ready for the next grade level.  LEAP 2025 assessments have evolved as the state’s standards have been revised to more accurately reflect what knowledge and skills students need to be successful. Most recently, in 2018-2019, a new high school assessment in Biology was implemented, along with a science assessment for grades 3-8 to align to revised standards. Results for those new assessments will be released this fall, as is typical for the first year of a new assessment.