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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Louisiana schools: 20 percent earn 'A' in grading system

Louisiana schools: 20 percent earn 'A' in grading system

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Performance scores for the state's public schools remained steady for the third year in a row, state education officials said Tuesday, with 20 percent earning an "A'' in the state grading system.

Twenty-seven percent of schools earned a "B'' and another 27 percent a "C'' in the latest breakdown; 18 percent got a "D'' and 8 percent an "F."

The state released scores and letter grades for individual schools and school districts on Tuesday. It also launched a new online reporting system to help families examine individual schools — the Louisiana School Finder .

Also Tuesday, officials released, for the first time, performance data on all publicly funded early-childhood education programs in the state. Officials said the rating system includes evaluations of teacher-child interactions and instruction; also, measures of which programs used "best practices" including hiring of credentialed teachers and use of high quality curricula.

"It is a great step forward for our state to report on the good work going on in early childhood centers alongside their counterparts in K-12 systems," Education Superintendent John White said in a statement accompanying the release of the latest figures.

As for public schools, while performance scores remained steady overall, there were some changes among individual schools and districts. Some districts improved.

The Lafourche and Terrebonne parish school districts both maintained their ratings from the state from last year to this.

The Lafourche Parish School District maintained its “A” grade for the 2016-17 school year and was given a school performance score of 102.3, compared to last year’s 102.2. The Terrebonne Parish School District earned 3.1 points more than last year and earned a 98.2 performance score, compared to last year’s 95.1.

The scores are calculated mostly from state standardized testing but also factor in high school graduation rates, earned college credits by students and student improvement.

As a state, Louisiana improved by 3.8 points from last year and earned an overall “B” rating. The state received a “C” last year.

More than 50 percent of Lafourche and Terrebonne schools improved their state scores for the 2016-17 school year.

Fourteen schools in Lafourche Parish improved their scores from last year, and four schools rose letter grades. In Terrebonne, 21 schools improved their scores and 10 schools rose letter grades.

Lafourche Parish has 10 “A” schools, 12 “B” schools, four “C” schools and four “D” schools. Terrebonne Parish has eight “A” rated schools, 10 “B” schools, 10 “C” schools, four “D” schools and one “F” school.

A school must earn between 100-150 points to earn an “A.”

Lafourche Parish saw 15 schools lose points compared to last year’s scores, and Terrebonne had 12 schools decrease.

Only one school, Golden Meadow Middle School, neither gained nor lost points.

This is the last year that the state is employing a curve for awarding school district scores. Beginning next year, the rating system is expected to see fewer “A” grades and more “F” grades.

But some officials worry that even under the new system, far too many systems -- 50 percent or more -- will be awarded “A” or “B” grades in a state that is at or near the bottom in most educational measures.

White noted in a news release and a telephone news conference that the challenges will be greater in coming years as the state adopts the higher standards.