St. Charles students score well in GEE testing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2001


LULING – The newest version of the Graduate Exit Exam, taken by 10th graders statewide in March, did not have students in St. Charles Parish daunted. In fact, students at Destrehan and Hahnville high schools scored among the best in Louisiana, according to Rachel Allemand, executive director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, who supervises the tests’ administration in the school district. A total of 600 students took the GEE this time around. Among Destrehan High’s 329 10th-graders, 89 percent passed the English/language arts segment and 85 percent of the mathematics segment. Among Hahnville High School’s 271 10th-graders, 93 percent passed the language arts portion and 87 percent passed the mathematics portion. The average scores for St. Charles Parish were 91 percent passing rate for English/language arts and 86 percent passing for math. These scores set the parish’s 10th-grade students among the best in the state. Only St. Tammany and Cameron parish school districts and the state lab schools scored better in English/language arts. Only Cameron, St. Tammany and West Carroll parish school districts scored better in math. “We’re just so pleased,” Allemand said. “They exceeded our expectations.” This was especially pleasing, considering this was the first time the new GEE was administered. This group of 10th-graders were also the first who took the LEAP test as eighth-graders. “What’s encouraging for me is that the math passing rate actually went up,” Allemand said, while English/language arts stayed the same. Math score averages improved from 79 to 86 percent. “When we first gave LEAP, we targeted math as a problem area,” she said. “Overall, this is extremely exciting.” The difference between the earlier version of GEE is that the older one was completely multiple-choice in format, while the current version includes short-answer and essay questions. To ensure against subjective grading of these newer questions, Allemand explained, is that those questions are each independently graded by two scorers, using basic criteria. If the two scores are too varied, a third scorer is brought in to settle it. “The state’s been very careful about that,” Allemand said. What’s more, any parent who wants their child’s test to be rescored may do so, but a fee is involved. “We had four requests for re-scoring on the old test and none on the new test,” Allemand added. In addition, St. Charles Parish 11th-graders who took the old version of GEE in March scored extremely well, despite taking additional tests, now being phased in, on social studies and science. Students must pass the GEE in order to receive a diploma upon graduation. Re-tests are available in October, Allemand said.