Don’t LEAP to conclusions; Parish scores mirror state averages

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Juanice Gray | Editor

LEAP chart page 2….click to enlarge

The La. Department of Education (DOE) released an abundance of data related to the high stakes LEAP testing completed by students last spring. Charts abound, but one statistic was clear, scores dropped, but not as badly as school systems across the state braced for. In light of the pandemic, scores only fell a few points, a fact in which educators can take pride.

At the state level, when including all grade levels tested encompassing 26,480 students, 8% were proficient, 68% progressing and 24% emerging. Natchitoches parish students earned similar scores with 11% proficient, 66% progressing and 23% emerging.

This article published in the Aug. 7, 2021, print edition

Those numbers appear encouraging, but what local parents and educators want to know is how their child, and their child’s school, performed. We prepared the chart on page two to show only parish and school results with state results for comparison.

Results are by grade level and achievement level: Advanced (A), Mastery (M), Basic (B), Approaching Basic (AB) and Unsatisfactory (U) and Participation Rate (PR).

All data is presented in percentages.

DOE releases new LEAP 2025 data

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) today announced the release of new Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP 2025) data. For the last two school years, Louisiana faced extraordinary challenges ranging from catastrophic hurricanes to a global pandemic. “In the face of immense adversity, students, teachers, administrators and parents showed unwavering resiliency, demonstrating a deep commitment to both safety and learning,” said State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Cade Brumley.

“This LEAP 2025 data will be invaluable in guiding our instructional, policy, and resource allocation decisions as we recover and accelerate from this unprecedented interruption to student learning.”

LEAP 2025 Results

* Grades 3-8

* From 2019 to 2021, the number of students scoring Mastery or above saw a decrease of 5 percentage points. This decrease was felt across all grade levels, content areas and student subgroups.

* Simultaneously, learning gaps deepened, as evidenced by a 5 percentage point increase in the number of students scoring Unsatisfactory.

This disproportionately impacted:

* Economically disadvantaged students

* Students in the earlier tested grades (e.g., grades 3 and 4)

* Scores earned in mathematics

* Grades 9-12

* Across all subjects, the number of students scoring Mastery and above declined by 5 percentage points since 2019.

* In each individual subject, the number of students scoring Mastery and above has decreased since 2019.

* Algebra I saw the greatest decline (-9 percentage points) from 2019 – 2021, and English II had the smallest decline (-2 percentage points).

Participation Rates Overall, Louisiana’s combined participation rate in LEAP 2025 was 97.5 percent. 98.5 percent of students, grades 3-8, participated in state testing. 93.4 percent of high school students participated in state testing.

LDOE implemented a variety of tactics to spur high participation rates, including:

* Extended testing windows

* Provided extended hours testing

* Offered remote testing availability

Recovery Programs Since the beginning of the pandemic, LDOE provided direct guidance and support to school systems, aiming to improve academic achievement and life outcomes for students.

These initiatives included, but were not limited to:

* Reading Revival

* ‘Accelerate’ tutoring

* New approaches to summer learning

* A $4 billion grant focused on accelerating student learning & educator development 2020 Cohort Graduation Rate Due to COVID-19, student seat time and assessment requirements were waived beginning March 13, 2020 through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

As a result, data from the 2019-2020 school year is not directly comparable to results from prior or future school years and should be interpreted with caution, especially when making comparisons with results from other school years.

* The cohort graduation rate increased to 84.0, up 3.9 percentage points from 80.1 in 2019 and up 11.7 percentage points from 72.3 in 2012.

* Cohort graduation rates for all student groups increased from 2019.

* English Learners had the most growth in the short term (from 2019-2020) increasing by +7.2.

* Students with disabilities showed growth in both the long- and short-term, with the most growth happening over the long-term from 2012 (+38.3).

From 2019, students graduating with their cohort grew (+6.6). Next Steps School systems have already begun sending student reports for LEAP 2025 ELA, math, science 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 design data-driven supports and targeted interventions for students. Under state law, students, who have not met proficiency standards, must receive intensive support over the summer or throughout the year.

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.