Louisiana education superintendent: Less than half of state students ready for their current grade, though improving

Louisiana public school students are not fully prepared for the grade they started this year, state education Superintendent John White says.

Their preparedness is “in the mid-40s in reading and in the mid-30s in math,” he said, out of 100.

“For years, Louisiana and most other states used a dishonest standard for what it means to be fully ready,” he said. “We raised our standards, which revealed serious deficits.”

Despite this, students are showing progress year-over-year, particularly in reading, the state Department of Education reports.

“You can both celebrate the progress that we’ve made and insist that progress must be accelerated,” White said.

Under state law, students who have not met basic proficiency standards must receive intensive support over the summer or throughout the year, the education department says.

Louisiana’s accountability system measures student grades and the progress of their improvements, White explains. The State Department of Education recently released information highlighting schools, systems, subjects, and groups where student are faring well, and areas where students are falling behind.

The data follows the release last month of student subject-area proficiency rates on the LEAP 2025 tests and will factor into the annual school performance scores scheduled for release this fall. The student progress report accounts for 25 percent of an elementary or middle school’s overall performance score and 12.5 percent of a high school’s overall performance score.

On average, students are showing more improvement in reading than in math. Students who scored in the “basic” range the last year are showing the most growth on average compared to other levels, according to the analysis.

Scores on the LEAP test are reported on five levels: unsatisfactory, approaching basic, basic, mastery or advanced. Students who score in the top two categories, “mastery” or “advanced,” are considered “proficient” and ready for the next grade.

Historically disadvantaged students are making progress, but not enough to close gaps with their peers, according to the department. They include minorities, economically disadvantaged, English learners, and students with disabilities.

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