Regular ed students fare well with LEAP

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 11, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / August 11, 2000

RESERVE – The State Department of Education released preliminary results of the summer LEAP test for eighth-graders, and St. John the Baptist Parishstudents didn’t fare too badly.

But they didn’t fare too well either, according to school Superintendent Chris Donaldson.

Of the 193 St. John Parish public school students who attended the LEAPremediation courses this summer, 25 percent passed the language arts part of the test and 30 percent passed the math section.

Donaldson amended those figures by saying the state combined both the regular and special education students in the figures.

“Actually, over 50 percent of our regular students passed,” said Donaldson.

Breaking down the figures by groups, 57 percent of the regular students passed the language arts section of LEAP, and 11 percent of special education students passed on to the ninth grade.

In the math portion of the test 38 percent of the regular students passed while 10.2 percent of special education students made the grade.Students who passed the summer LEAP exams will be passed on to the ninth grade.

In total, 54 of the 193 public school students who took the summer LEAP test will be promoted to the ninth grade. There were also 29 non-publicschool students who took the exam, and of those 19 passed.

“While the scores are not as high as we would like them to be,” said Donaldson, “we are pleased that a number of our students did meet state requirements and will be promoted.”Those students who did not pass the summer LEAP test will go on to high school, but they will be placed in a new category known as 8 1/2. While atschool they will take remedial classes in the subjects they failed in the LEAP test. They will also be able to take other high school courses for credit, butthey will not be ninth-graders. They will then have to take the next LEAPexam in March 2001. If they pass that exam they will be allowed to bepromoted.

Students who failed the LEAP exam in March and did not attend the summer LEAP remediation course will be held back in the eighth grade. Thesestudents will be known as 8 Transitional students and will have to take remedial classes and take the LEAP test in March 2001 to see if they will pass.

Donaldson said that unfortunately there is a good number of 8 Transitional students in the system. He said he just returned from a meeting with otherschool superintendents and they said the problem of students not taking the summer LEAP tests was a statewide problem.

As for the test results, Donaldson said, “We need to analyze where we are and continue to focus on those students that didn’t do so well.”Donaldson said he made many visits to LEAP remediation classes this summer, and both students and teachers worked “very hard to pass the tests.”The St. John Parish School Board will send letters to parents informing themof their children’s promotion, retention or other placement. A list of thestudents will also be sent to school principals so parents may be contacted as soon as possible.

Donaldson said these scores are preliminary results.

“We have been informed by the state that more accurate results will be received on Aug. 21,” he said.The results of the fourth-grade LEAP test will be released Monday.

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