Nearly time for students to LEAP

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2001


LULING – It’s almost time for public school students across Louisiana in grades four, eight and 10 to take the LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) test. Rachel Allemand, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for St. Charles Parish Schools, is preparing for that next testing period, March 12-16, during which other grades will take other tests. “I’m advising parents to talk to their children about becoming overly anxious,” Allemand said. “Maintain as much of a normal routine as possible.” Students in grades four and eight will start with the language arts portion on March 12. This portion of the test includes a written composition and resource materials test. On the following day, a proofreading test is joined by a reading-and-response portion of the language arts exam. On March 14, the mathematics portion of LEAP is planned, and grades four and eight will continue with the social studies and science portion on March 15-16. At the same time, 10th graders will be taking the new GEE-21 language arts and mathematics tests, required to be passed to receive a diploma upon graduation. Retake of a failed portion will be available in October. Eleventh-graders will take the old GEE science and social studies exam on April 3-5. They also will have re-take opportunities in case they fail a portion. The LEAP test is vital to advance to the next grade level for those particular students, measuring student performances as to the knowledge they should have at these points in their academic careers. Test scores aren’t of the common A-to-F variety, but results are ranked according to the following: unsatisfactory, approaching basic, basic, proficient and advanced. The knowledge being assessed by LEAP are what students are learning along the way regardless, according to Allemand, who added “We started teaching skills in kindergarten to be tested on in fourth grade, so the whole responsibility isn’t on the fourth grade. It’s an ongoing process.” So there isn’t any such thing going on as “teaching the test,” since if it’s important for LEAP, it’s important anyway. In the language arts portion of LEAP, students will be tested on reading and response, written composition skills, proofreading abilities and using information resources. The mathematics portion of the LEAP test includes two major parts: assessing concepts and skills with multiple-choice problem-solving and and short-answer word problems where the students may be asked to explain how they reached the answers. While the LEAP testing is going on, other students will be taking the Iowa tests. Students in grades two, three, five, six and seven will take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Students in grade nine will take the Iowa Test of Basic Development. Specific testing dates will be set by the principals in each school. Allemand said she will have those testing dates by March 5. Results for the March 12-16 LEAP tests will be received by May 14-16. A LEAP “summer school” will again be held to handle those students who score unsatisfactory, with re-tests planned July 9-11. Results from those re-tests will be received by Aug. 15, with the start of the new school year set for Aug. 20. To handle the scheduling crunch, those at-risk students will be double-scheduled at each grade level, up or down. Students in private or parochial schools intending to transfer to public school at fifth or ninth grade still need to take the LEAP test to be accepted in their new grade. L.E.A.P. Web Site