POSTED: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 3:20pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 3:22pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) - — Students in Ascension Parish Public Schools continue to improve their scores on the state’s high stakes tests, according to the latest report from the Louisiana Department of Education that was released today (May 24).
The data from this year’s report shows, for the fourth consecutive year, the parish has increased the number of students who score Mastery and Advanced – the two highest levels of the LEAP, iLEAP and GEE tests.
The five scoring levels for these tests are Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic and Unsatisfactory. Students must score a combined Basic/Approaching Basic in the English/language arts and math categories or higher to be deemed proficient.
“Growing the number of students who are proficient in all subject areas is at the very foundation of what we do in Ascension; but, it’s also our goal to help our students excel beyond the promotional standard and perform at the highest achievement levels,” said Ascension Parish School Superintendent Patrice Pujol.
Pujol noted that the she is proud to see that the latest report shows increases in Mastery and Advanced scores in many key areas across the tested grade-levels with some grade levels increasing in all four academic categories.
Students in fourth grade English/language arts had a substantial increase of six percent in the Mastery category and one percent in Advanced. In math, they improved two percent in both Mastery and Advanced, while in science they grew three percent in the Mastery category.
Eighth graders also made significant gains. In the science category, the number of students scoring Mastery grew by eight percent, and in social studies, an additional four percent scored Mastery and three percent more scored Advanced. More eighth graders also scored at the highest levels in English/language arts with three percent more scoring Advanced, and two percent more scoring Mastery.
High school students, not to be outdone by their younger counterparts, increased scores at the highest levels in science and social studies. Most notable was the increase in science with eight percent more students scoring Mastery and two percent more scoring Advanced. And in social studies, the number of students scoring Mastery and Advanced improved by one percent in each category. They also grew their Mastery scores by three percent in math and one percent in English/language arts.
Pujol praised the district’s teachers and administrators for their successful implementation of school improvement initiatives and one-on-one attention to student learning. It is these efforts and the attentiveness to the specific needs of the students that have forged Ascension ahead as one of the state’s top-performing school districts. She also noted that the district is implementing an accelerated academic recovery program next year – known as the Turnaround Zone – to further advance student achievement in the parish.
“We are always looking for ways to improve how we serve the needs of our students, teachers, and administrators,” Pujol noted.
“Our Turnaround Zone will be the first of its kind in Louisiana and it will focus on seven schools that we have identified as needing innovative embedded support to move the School Performance Scores into the highest tiers of performance.”
Pujol said Assistant Superintendent Steve Westbrook has already begun working with school administrators at Donaldsonville Primary, Donaldsonville High, Lowery Middle, Lowery Elementary, Gonzales Middle, Gonzales Primary and Pecan Grove Primary to implement the program and assign Internal Support Partners (ISPs) to the schools.
“We are pleased we have already received a $1 million grant to go toward our efforts, and that state education leaders recognize our Turnaround Zone as a possible model for the state,” Pujol said.
The data release for iLEAP demonstrates that students in other grade-levels have similar positive achievement results as those in high stakes tested grade-levels.
In the state department’s report some of the greatest improvements in grade levels taking the iLEAP test were:
Sixth grade students grew six percent in math and two percent in science in the Advanced category
Fifth grade students grew four percent in social studies in Mastery, two percent in both Advanced and Mastery in science, and two percent in Mastery in English / language arts
In English / language arts third grade students grew two percent in Advanced and seventh graders two percent in Mastery
The number of percent proficient students in Ascension increased in all four core subject areas tested in third grade. While both sixth and seventh graders grew in three of the four tested areas.
“We congratulate our students on their academic success, and we pledge to continue doing our part to move our students forward,” she said.