St. Charles, St. James report LEAPs in standard test scores

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 1, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — With the release of the school-by school test results of the LEAP test by the state department of education, St. Charles still takes the lead when it comes to the River Parishes school districts.

The results, released on Tuesday, represent the final scores for spring of 2005, after preliminary results were posted in May.

While St. James Parish eighth-graders had a failure rate of 17 percent and 21 percent for English and math, respectively, and St. John students of that grade had a failure rate of 14 and 31 percent, St. Charles saw only a five percent and 10 percent failure rate in those subjects.

The achievement levels for students on the LEAP, and GEE test, which is taken by tenth-graders are: Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic, and Unsatisfactory.

If a student receives an Unsatisfactory mark in the preliminary testing, they are offered the opportunity of summer school and a retest. If they fail to reach beyond the Unsatisfactory level, they are not allowed to advance to the next grade.

In St. Charles, eighth-graders fared better than the fourth graders, who received a 10 percent failure rate in English, and a 15 percent failure rate in math. However the eighth-graders of St. James Parish did better, receiving 10 and 16 percent failure rate.

When the preliminary test results were released, St. Charles was ranked fifth in the state. Final rankings will not be available until September, according to the State Department of Education.

Rachel Allemand, St. Charles executive director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said she is pleased the parish’s scores have been steadily and consistently high for the past several years.

Allemand said the goal of the parish is always to decrease those students falling into the Unsatisfactory and Approaching Basic levels, and increases the numbers of students rising to the Advanced and Mastery levels.

“That is what we look at when we consider gains.”

At R.J. Vial Elementary School, located in Paradis, four percent of fourth grade students achieved the advanced level in English, while five percent reached that level in math.

Lakewood Elementary in Luling saw nine and five percent of students at that level, though they experienced a higher failure rate than R. J. Vial.

Five percent of eighth-graders in St. Charles Parish failed the English portion of the test, with 10 percent failing math.

However, 19 percent of eighth-graders had performed at the Mastery level for English, while 12 percent performed at that level for math.

“We see the greatest gain in our eighth-graders,” Allemand said, “They approved in all subject areas.”

According to Allemand, the eighth graders of St. Charles Parish received the highest scores in the state.

On the GEE 21, taken by tenth grade students, 23 percent of students reached the Mastery level and 10 percent were Unsatisfactory in English. In math, 22 percent reached mastery level and 13 percent had a failure rate.

This is actually a slip from last year, when less students scored at the Unsatisfactory level for last year.

St. James saw vast improvements, with a 9-percent age difference in failure rates for English, and a 16-point improvement in math.

No one could be reached for comment from the St. James School District.

Allemand said the St. Charles administration will address reading as an area to concentrate on this upcoming school year, as she believes it affects how students perform in all subjects.