Local school officials pleased with scores

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005


Managing Editor

BATON ROUGE – River Parishes school districts are feeling pleased with their District Performance Scores released Thursday by the Louisiana Department of Education.

“We’re pretty happy,” noted Mary Edwards, administrative director of teacher development for St. James Parish public schools.

St. James Parish, ranked as the 44th-best in the state’s 66 school districts, came in with a one-star ranking – a 79.1 score. That included 44.0 for LEAP/GEE, with 47.2 for the state; 23.9 for Iowa Test, with 25.5 for the state; 4.5 for attendance, with 4.2 for the state; and 6.7 for dropout rate, with 5.7 for the state.

Edwards said their biggest need is placing certified teachers in lower-performing schools. “The quality of instruction will bring up test scores.”

She continued, speaking of students, “If you don’t get good, quality academic instruction for a couple of years, it’s hard to make it up.”

St. John Parish ranked at 68.9 or one star and came in at 58th-bestin the state.

That rank included 39.4 for LEAP/GEE, with 47.2 for the state; 21.8 for Iowa Test, with 25.5 for the state; 3.9 for

(See Scores, Page 3A)

(From Page 1A)

attendance, with 4.2 for the state; and 3.8 for dropout rate, with 5.7 for the state.

Assistant Superintendent Wilbert Ocmond pointed out, as did each spokesperson, that this year’s score is higher than last year’s 66.8 score which, again, is higher than the previous year’s 62 score.

“We’re gradually making progress,” Ocmond said. “It’s obviously not where we’d like to be but we’re not losing ground.”

Ocmond also pointed out that overall scores for black students improved from 57.6 to 62.8, while white scores dropped from 93.1 to 89.6.

In addition, scores for special education students improved from 30.3 to 44, a huge jump in that category

“That’s unheard-of,” Ocmond said.

St. Charles Parish, ranked as the fifth-best in the state, and only one of eight districts ranked as three stars, came in at 102.9, compared to the overall 82.6 score for the state.

The LEAP/GEE score was 58.6, above the statewide score of 47.2; Iowa Test score was 31.8, above the state score of 25.5; attendance score was 5.2, compared to 4.2 for the state; and dropout score was 7.3, compared to 5.7 for the state.

Spokeswoman Rochelle Cancienne recalled last April’s security problems which nullified some tests. “If that hadn’t happened, we would’ve scored higher,” she said.

Overall, however, Cancienne commented that the scores demonstrate a pervasive attitude of quality and constant improvement, as Cancienne pointed out that each year’s tests involved different students than the year before, moving up in grades.

The district performance scores are established by combining scores from LEAP/Gee, Iowa Tests, attendance rate and dropout rate. LEAP/GEE counts for 60 percent of the score, with 30 percent for the Iowa Test, and 5 percent each for attendance and dropout rate.

Scores of 140 or better are ranked at five stars. Scores of 120-139.9 are ranked at four stars. No Louisiana school districts are yet ranked at four or five stars.

Three-star school districts have 100-119.9 scores, of which there are eight in Louisiana, including St. Charles Parish. Two-star school districts have 80-99.9 scores. One-star school districts have 60-79.9 scores.

School districts with scores of 45-59.9 are ranked as districts with a Warning. School districts with scores below 45 are ranked at Unacceptable.