School, district grades released

The 2017-2018 Louisiana school and district performance scores were released Thursday showing the state, as a whole, maintained a B grade for a second consecutive year despite the toughened standards.
While the state’s overall score dropped this year from 86.8 to 76.1, the lower score can be attributed to more demanding national education standards. The highest score attainable is 150.
Under the old scoring system, the state would have a score of 94, a 6.2 point increase over last year’s mark.
The Acadia Parish School System had an overall score of 79.5, to earn a B grade. Under the old scoring system, the parish would have a score of 92.3, a 2.3 point increase over last year’s mark.
“We are proud of the hard work of our teachers and students, as well as all stakeholders involved with educating our Acadia Parish students,” said Superintendent Scott Richard. “Even with the bar being raised, the district was able to maintain a letter grade of B. However, we must acknowledge that we need to improve in a number of areas, especially in how our students are performing on state assessments.”
Of the 26 public schools in Acadia Parish, three saw their grades go up this year. Central Rayne Kindergarten, Church Point Elementary and Martin Petitjean (Rayne) Elementary schools each earned a C grade this year, up from a D in the 2017 scoring.
Eight schools dropped a letter grade.
Armstrong Middle School in Rayne dropped from a C to a D; Ross and South Rayne Elementary dropped from a B to a C; and Branch, Evangeline, Mire and Richard Elementary and Iota Middle schools went from an A to a B.
“Our district must work to provide our teachers with the proper curricula aligned to those state assessments —along with the accompanying professional development that is necessary to insure full implementation of the new curricula,” Richard said. “In addition, we must use the performance data now available to the district to guide our decisions relative to the overall education process.
“Our ongoing efforts to evaluate the overall operation of the District Office will continue to be student-driven and focus on how we can truly support our schools and our teachers in the best way possible. I sincerely believe that our district will continue to improve the education program that we provide and that the best is yet to come for the Acadia Parish School System.”
With the new standards, Louisiana’s share of A-rated public schools slipped while those with F grades went up, according to the data released by the state Department of Education.
Since 1999, the state has issued School Performance Scores for public schools, which are based on student achievement data. To clearly communicate the quality of school performance to families and the public, Louisiana adopted letter grades — A through F.
Thursday’s announcement marks the first unveiling of school performance marks since the state revamped how schools are rated, in part to answer criticism that Louisiana has long soft-pedaled how classrooms are failing.
Under the new rating system, 13 percent of schools earned A ratings compared to 20 percent under the previous measuring formula. Those with F ratings rose from 8 percent to 12 percent.
Test scores are placed in one of five categories: advanced, mastery, basic, approaching basic and unsatisfactory.
The state’s previous standard was basic.
Under the new rules, schools by 2025 will have to average mastery, and meet other criteria, to win an A-rating.
As schools respond to higher expectations, the distribution of school performance scores has shifted modestly. The result is 13 percent of schools statewide received an A grade; 31 percent of schools statewide received a B grade; 30 percent of schools statewide received a C grade; 14 percent of schools statewide received a D grade; and 12 percent of schools statewide received an F grade.

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