Math scores ‘profound struggle in our state’

The American Press

<p class="p1">For years, Louisiana’s reputation when it comes to standardized test performance in public schools has been notoriously bad. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go, especially with math. </p><p class="p3">According to LEAP scores released last month, only 25 percent of seventh grade students, along with 28 percent of eighth grade students, scored advanced or better in math.</p><p class="p3">The nation’s report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, ranked Louisiana’s eighth grade math scores 50th this year.</p><p class="p3">ACT scores didn’t fare much better, with Louisiana ranking 43rd nationwide last year.</p><p class="p3">The state’s average math score was 18.8 out of 36, the lowest of the test’s four subjects. The national average score in math was 20.7.</p><p class="p3">State Superintendent of Education John White told the Advocate that the low math scores “is a profound struggle in our state.”</p><p class="p3">One problem lies with some middle school math teachers not being able to teach students content knowledge. White said this can hurt students now and into the future when they try to compete for high-paying jobs that require math skills.</p><p class="p3">Teachers need the skills necessary to teach the curriculum so students can succeed in standardized tests. </p><p class="p3">Another problem is a lack of math and science teachers statewide. This forces some teachers into the classroom before they have met the required certification.</p><p class="p3">Louisiana’s education officials need to fix the issue of students underperforming in math so it doesn’t get any worse. They already know the problem exists. It was addressed during a retreat last week hosted by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.</p><p class="p3">Sadly, there isn’t an easy, or affordable, solution. White also acknowledged that the curriculum may not help students who are behind in their math skills. One out of four high school students have the target math skills.</p><p class="p3">The LEAP and ACT scores only reaffirm what we already know about Louisiana’s underperforming students. Now it’s up to our education officials to find ways to improve the outcomes and give students the skills they need to succeed in school and in the workforce.</p>””Math problemsAmerican Press composite

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