Parish students keep top-level testing growth

Staff reports

Ascension Parish Public School students continue to raise the bar in high stakes testing, according to a report released by the Louisiana Department of Education.

For a third consecutive year, an increased number of Ascension students are scoring at the top Mastery and Advanced levels in several areas.

The 2010 preliminary data shows an increased number of high school students in Ascension scoring in the Advanced and Mastery categories in math, English/language arts and social studies.

In math, high school students increased three percentage points in the Mastery category and four percentage points in the Advanced category, according to the data.

Following suit, eighth graders increased three percentage points in English/language arts in the Mastery category and moved up another four percentage points in the Advanced category.

With increases of six percentage points in math and four percentage points in social studies, fourth graders also displayed substantial growth within the Mastery category. While in the Advanced category, fourth graders bolstered a three percentage point increase in math and increased another two points in English/language arts.

The reports indicate how well a student has mastered the state content standards on the iLEAP, LEAP and GEE tests. Students receive one of the following five achievement ratings: Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic, and Unsatisfactory.

“The preliminary results indicate that school improvement initiatives, such as district-wide benchmark assessment in middle and high schools and a strong focus on common assessments in primary, are rendering positive results,” said Ascension Parish Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Patrice Pujol.

Use of the initiatives allowed teachers and administrators to simultaneously increase more student top performances while increasing the number of students who meet the standard, according to Pujol.

The district is in the third year of implementation of Northrop Grumman’s assessment software system which now holds over 20,000 exam questions created by teachers in Ascension Parish.

In addition to district-wide assessments, the software gives teachers the ability to create exams for day-to-day classroom tests that are tightly aligned to the states curriculum framework.

This is the second year that students in grades 6 – 11 have taken quarterly benchmark exams across the district. This data will be used to track a student’s progress throughout the school year and eventually his or her school career. Evaluating the exam results has allowed the district to identify areas in the curriculum that need more or less attention as well as individual students who may not be mastering the concepts and need more instruction.

In addition to the high stake’s tested grades, students at third, fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth grade levels also participate in state-wide testing by way of the iLEAP exam. In the state department’s report Ascension students continued to improve in these grade levels as well.

Third graders showed an increase in both science and social studies in the Advanced category.

Fifth graders grew in both math and English/language arts in the Mastery category, while increasing math and social studies in the Advanced category.

Sixth graders showed an increase in English/language arts and social studies in the Advanced category, while increasing in all four areas, English/language arts, math, science and social studies, in the Mastery category. 

Seventh graders grew in both English/language arts and social studies in the Advanced category while ninth graders showed growth in math in the Advanced category and in English/language arts in the Mastery category.

“I cannot offer enough praise to the truly phenomenal teachers we have in our school district,” said School Superintendent Donald Songy. “Because of the hard work of our teachers and the tireless efforts of our school administrators, directors, supervisors and coordinators, we are able to provide the best environment for our students to learn.”