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 by the state Department of Education.
This year, 70 percent of school systems improved across ELA, math, and social studies. The three school systems with the most improved performance since last year are LaSalle Parish (+5 percentage points), Central Community School District (+4 percentage points), and DeSoto Parish (+4 percentage points).
“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.”
Louisiana has improved performance among most historically disadvantaged student groups since 2015; however, achievement gaps are pronounced and, in some cases, growing, the department reports. This trend is particularly true for students with disabilities and English learners, who have not seen improvement at the rate of their peers.
The report is the first of three depicting how well students are performing in each grade. The next report focuses on each student’s annual progress, and is expected to be released in August.
The department also released strategies for improvement, including staffing and supporting 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.
Louisiana is also piloting an innovative joint ELA and social studies assessment to encourage teachers to focus more on knowledge building and more closely collaborate with their peers across subjects.
The Department is also adding supports to its nationally recognized ELA Guidebooks curriculum and plans to 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.
In 2019-2020, Louisiana will support struggling schools to 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.
The Department is also 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.
“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.”