LEAP retests proceed smoothly for students, school officials

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 14, 2001


RESERVE – This week was surely nerve-racking for some children in the St. John the Baptist Parish area, as they retested for LEAP, the exam that determines if fourth-graders move on to fifth grade and if eighth-graders are ready for high school. Though students parishwide made a marked improvement this year, still 28 percent of fourth-graders and 27 percent of eighth-graders had to retake the test over the summer in hopes of being promoted to the next grade. According to Michael K. Coburn, superintendent of schools for St. John Parish, makeup tests were held Monday and Tuesday for students who did not pass the test during the school year. Designated test sites were at the Glade School in LaPlace, West St. John Elementary School in Edgard and Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School. Those unable to take the test Monday or Tuesday were tested Wednesday. “Everything went smooth as silk,” said Coburn. “We didn’t have any problems, and of course we’ll have the scores back soon. I know they’ll be back before school starts, because we have to know who is moving on to the next grade.” Those who did not pass LEAP 21 during the school year had the option of attending summer school and retaking the test or repeating the same grade next school year. The second year that students are required to pass both the math and language arts portions of the test, this year’s scores beat out last year’s, as 37 percent of fourth-graders and 42 percent of eighth-graders failed the test during the 1999-2000 school year. Precious Joseph of the St. John School Board said the numbers of students who retested were still being calculated. There were 146 fourth-grade students and 116 eighth-grade students who retested for the math portion. Language arts numbers were still being computed at the end of the week. “We had some walk-ins as well,” she added. The state allows students who did not pass LEAP to retest without being enrolled in a summer school program. If they opt to retake the test without having gone through summer school, they can. Doris Gerhart, summer school coordinator at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School, said the school had 15 eighth-grade and four fourth-grade walk-ins. “We’ve had a very smooth testing week,” she said. “Everyone came in ready to work.” Glenda Gaudet, principal at West St. John High School, filled in for Principal Shelton Smith of West St. John Elementary during testing, as he was on vacation. “Everything at the school is going fine,” she said. “The kids had a very good turn out. We only had two to make-up. They came in eager and enthusiastic. They seemed to be well-prepared. I wished them luck, and told them to take their time. It’s been a good week.”