News Release from the Louisiana Department of Education
BATON ROUGE, LA - The Department of Education announced Tuesday that on LEAP and iLEAP tests aligned to more challenging learning standards, the percentage of students performing at the state's 2025 expectation of "mastery" (level 4 out of 5) increased in both English Language Arts and math, while the percentage of students performing at the state's expectation level established in 1999, "basic" (level 3 out of 5), remained steady.
In English Language Arts, 27 percent of students performed at the mastery level or higher, compared to 26 percent in 2013. For math, 25 percent of students scored at mastery or higher on this year's assessments fully aligned to new academic expectations, a 2 point increase from 23 percent in 2013. Overall, 69 percent of students achieved "basic" results or better, the same percentage as in 2013.
The one-time, transitional 2014 LEAP and iLEAP tests were aligned with new academic expectations that demand higher levels of critical thinking and writing. The writing assessment, for example, required students to read one or two passages and use evidence in the texts to support responses. In math, students learned critical skills in grades earlier than in past years.
The 2014 tests are part of a transition process to higher expectations in Louisiana, which commenced in 2010. In 2013, students took modified LEAP and iLEAP tests that were partially aligned to the new standards. In 2015, Louisiana students will take the same English Language Arts and math assessments administered in more than a dozen other states, providing the first comprehensive assessment of the state's educational competitiveness.
After the initial completion of the 2015 test, the state will have a "baseline" and will plan a schedule of annually increasing expectations for schools, such that by 2025, a school rated "A" will have an average performance of "mastery" rather than today's norm of "basic," established as the target level for students in 1999.
"Teachers, students, and families performed this year on these one-time tests as we expected when the tests were created," said State Superintendent John White. "Over the next decade, however, we will gradually raise our expectations, and it will be more challenging to compete. We owe our kids that change, but we will do it in a way that does not denigrate schools or humiliate educators."
In 1999, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) established "basic" as the state's standard for proficiency. However, basic achievement does not correspond with community college or university success. While 69 percent of students hit this mark, for example, only 28 percent complete a university or community college degree.
As the state establishes a new baseline and gradually raises expectations, transition policies will ensure the state does not denigrate schools or humiliate educators. The transition policies below will persist through two years of additional time to learn the new expectations.
- Test scheduling. For the past four years, Louisiana has planned to take the PARCC test in grades 3 to 8 (online in grades 5-8; paper in grades 3 and 4).
- School accountability. Letter grade distributions will remain the same from 2013 to 2014 and 2015. During the two year transition, any school or district that maintained or improved its annual performance score will not experience a decrease in its current letter grade.
- Teacher accountability. For 2014 and 2015, the state will not produce "value-added data" because there will be no baseline from which to calculate. Compass policies will remain in effect, but student learning scores will not need to be based on value-added data.
Student accountability. In 2014 and 2015, the state will maintain current 4th grade policy but allow districts to issue waivers for students demonstrating readiness to progress. The state will shift the 8th grade retention standard to be a remedial standard and require that remediation take place on the high school campus in a "transitional 9th grade" year.
To support Louisiana's transition to higher expectations and better assessments, Louisiana educators created the 2015 assessment, working alongside educators from other states, including writing and scoring test questions and determining all major assessment policies (e.g., accommodations, test security). Additionally, the Department of Education is providing numerous in-state supports for educators, including:
- Curriculum Resources: Teacher leaders and expert content staff created curriculum guidebooks for English and math in grades Kindergarten to 12, as well as assessments guides and sample tests.
- Teacher Leaders and Training: For the 2014-15 school year, the Department will train more than 6,000 educators from across the state on the new standards and the resources, including the June Teacher Leader Summit, Summer Content Training, and Fall Webinars and Collaboration.
- District Planning Teams: The Department supports districts with strategic decision making through the planning guide and direct work with designated teams of district staff - technology, assessment, and financial - to prepare for the more rigorous standards and better assessments.
- Technology Footprint: To help districts prepare for the technology demands of the 21st century, including online assessments, the Department continues to publish its semi-annual technology footprint which assesses district readiness and provides guidance on next steps.
Textbook reviews: Louisiana educators reviewed textbooks to advise districts on the alignment with the standards.
Spring 2014 Testing Results: PowerPoint Presentation
District Report: State and District Comparison Spring 2013 to 2014 (Percentile Ranks)
Spring 2014 iLEAP: State/District Achievement Level Summary Report
Spring 2014 iLEAP Grade 3: State/District/School Achievement Level Summary Report (Percent)