Last Modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 7:34 PM
A record 163 schools earned an A for the 2011-2012 school year, while tougher assessment standards caused a rise in the number of F schools, state School Superintendent John White said Monday.
School report cards released Monday by the Louisiana Department of Education indicated 36 percent of the state’s 1,283 schools earned a D or F, but White said that 983 schools showed improvement. School districts in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jeff Davis and Vernon parishes all received Bs, with scores ranging from 105-119.9.
The letter-grade system, introduced last year, allows state officials to evaluate school performance. It is based almost entirely on standardized test scores but also factors in attendance and dropout and graduation rates.
“Across our system, educators and students are stepping up to the challenges in front of them,” White said. “The challenge is not remotely close to complete, but we’re on our way.”
White said 157 schools received Fs, but he said that is because the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education raised the threshold for an F from 65 last year, to 75 this year. There were 70 schools who scored below 65 this year.
Statewide, 308 schools earned a B, 359 earned a C and 307 earned a D.
There were 440 “Top Gains schools,” which White said are those that hit their targeted performance score that is set at the beginning of the school year. He said those schools are given monetary rewards to use for “educational purposes.”
White said seven school districts received As, which was up from one district last year. He said 22 districts earned Bs, 26 earned Cs, 14 earned Ds, and two earned Fs.
Zachary Community Schools was the highest performing district, with a score of 134.7. DeSoto Parish, which raised its mark by 16 points, was the most-improved district in the state.
He said that 21 districts saw their scores improve by more than 10 points and that 12 districts have increased their scores by 20 points since 2008.
The fact that tests taken near the end of the school year will be getting harder for students is not designed to lower performance scores, White said, but to enhance their education. There will be tougher annual assessments and ACT tests for 11th grade students.
The 2014-2015 school year will include assessments by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career on common core state standards in English language arts and math. He said schools are being provided sample test items to help students achieve quality scores.