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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Students prepare for soon-to-be-extinct test

Last Modified: Monday, April 01, 2013 10:55 AM

By Nichole Osinski / American Press

As the second part of LEAP testing draws near, it also means these exams are one step closer to being on their way out.

As part of a process to move into Common Core standards, LEAP testing will eventually be replaced by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

The first part of the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program exam was taken by fourth- and eight-graders on March 19. The iLEAP is now set for April 8-11 for students in third, fifth, sixth and seventh grades.

Along with LEAP and iLEAP, the end-of-course exams that must be passed to receive a high school diploma will also be replaced. According to the Associated Press, the new tests will be issued starting with the 2014-2015 school year. Most of the state’s nearly 700,000 students in public schools will be effected by the changes.

The LEAP test was put in place in the late 1990s as part of a school and district accountability system for Louisiana, according to Stephanie Desselle, vice president for public policy at the Council for a Better Louisiana.

Fourth- and eigth-graders have since had to pass the LEAP test to move to the next grade. In 2009 the National Governors Association initiated a consortium to adopt Common Core standards. At the time 48 states joined.

“Since then about half of those states decided to adopt the new tests,” Desselle said. “This year they’re folding in some of those standards but at the end of next year they’re going to start testing.”

Teachers are in the process of training to become more familiar with the Common Core standards. Desselle said with these changes the state will have a better idea of where Louisiana students compare to the rest of the nation.

In addition to the transition from LEAP tests, Louisiana is adopting new assessments with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The PARCC assessments have been developed for K-12 students in English and math in preparation for college and careers.

Central Community School System Superintendent Michael Faulk said the state is will gradually change the accountably program as it transitions into CCSS. He said over the years the testing has become more challenging to stay in line with grade level expectations.

“As with anything there comes a point in time where it’s purpose has been served,” Faulk said. “Now you need to look at something else and the something else is going to be the Common Core and the PARCC Assessment.”

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