Schools’ LEAP test scores rank second in state

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St. Charles Parish Public Schools students are not only making the grade in the basics, but the system itself ranked second only to Zachary Community Schools in the percentage of tests that students scored “mastery and above” on combined English/language arts and math LEAP Tests.

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This placed the district at the 97th percentile in the state on spring LEAP results.

“When you’re a higher performing district, it’s difficult to show continuing growth,” said Superintendent Felecia Gomez-Walker. “It’s more challenging to see significant improvement in test scores, but that’s where we are. We’ve earned the reputation of a high performing district. There’s not much room to get to the ceiling, however, we are continuing to improve.”

Gomez-Walker said they felt the students were ready to do well on the tests due to ongoing monitoring of their performance.

The Louisiana Department of Education released the statewide scores Aug. 4.

Results show St. Charles Parish public schools contributed to a statewide jump of students performing “mastery and above” in these subjects to 38 percent, up from last year’s 33 percent, as well as those scoring “basic and above” rising to 67 percent up from last year’s 65 percent.

Students scoring “Mastery and above” in science also rose in every grade level, according to the Louisiana Board of Education.

Local math test numbers show the highest performance improvement over last year.

Some 16 percent more third-graders ranked in mastery and above on the math test over last year, bringing the total to 64 percent. Fourth-graders also showed improvement, as much as 12 percent higher than year, bringing them to the same percent total, and fifth-graders are up by 4 percent over last year, bring their total performing at this level to 49 percent.

More middle school students performed at the mastery and above level over last year. In sixth grade, 7 percent more students met the level, bringing them to 52 percent, and seventh-graders also were up 7 percent, bringing their total at that level to 42 percent. Eight-grader results were down 6 percent from last year, but Gomez-Walker said the decline is to due to state changes in required testing.

Gomez-Walker said the “relative weakness for the district” is science.

The school system’s composite scores in this subject show 9 percent more third-graders ranking in mastery and above over last year at 36 percent, and three percent more fourth-graders performing in the same category over last year or at 29 percent. Two percent fewer fifth-graders performed in this category over last year at 21 percent. In grades six and seven, 5 percent more students ranked in mastery and above over last  year while 1 percent fewer eighth-graders showed mastery and above.

“Overall, I think we are very encouraged by our math scores,” Gomez-Walker said of the system’s highest performance growth.

The superintendent attributed higher math results to the adoption of the state-endorsed Eureka Math curriculum, which St. Charles Parish Schools began using three years ago. She praised teachers, as well as parents for facilitating the transition into the curriculum.

“We’re seeing now the pay off of this series and higher standards,” she said, pointing to the jump in third-grader performance in math this year.

Ajit “AJ” Pethe, assistant superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, said, “This enables teachers to assist students in reaching their full potential and overcome the challenges of learning. Offering opportunities through gifted education, career and technical education and advanced academic enhancements create learning experiences that stretch our students. Students are supported through interventions such as Reading Recovery, literacy, credit and grade recovery, math resource and after-school assistance.”Gomez-Walker also attributed the high ranking to School Board members’ leadership and teamwork, as well as teachers and administrators’ commitment “to our core business of teaching and learning.” She added “The trust and support from parents, families and the entire community have been earned over time. This makes St. Charles Parish a special place to live, work, and educate our children.”

By 2025, schools and districts must average ‘mastery’ performance to earn an ‘A’ rating from the state Education Department.

About Anna Thibodeaux 1934 Articles
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