Assessment scores from the Common Core spring testing were released to the public Thursday.
Webster Parish superintendent of schools Dr. Dan Rawls says he’s just received the results and is just scratching the surface of what they all mean.
“I’ve just scratched the surface,” he said. “It’s going to take a while to look at all of this.”
Thursday’s release of district and school scores follows last week’s release of statewide results showing that only 22 of 40 percent of Louisiana public school students show what state officials consider “mastery” of their subject matter, depending on grade and subject matter.
The state considers “mastery” the level at which students are ready for post-secondary education, state education superintendent John White said in a news conference.
And while schools and districts can currently earn an “A” grade in the state accountability system when the average score is the lower “basic” level, that bar will slowly be raised in the coming years. Schools and districts will have to average out at the “mastery” level to do that well in 2025.
The 2014-15 school year is the first of two years of baseline scores before the scores will “count,” but White says this year’s scores, using the new test, are in line with how students performed overall last year.
“If they give the same test next year, they can compare this year’s scores with next year’s scores,” Rawls said. “Then they will count. But if you change the test again, then they won’t. That’s what people are complaining about all the time. He’s saying, ‘We’re trying to standardize the test so you can compare them.’”
White says the results aren’t surprising.
“You’re not going to see us compare this year’s results with last year’s results because you have different kids taking the tests and you have different tests,” White said. “However, the results are generally comparable to past assessments.”
The tests administered in the spring to about 320,000 students in grades 3-8 were developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, or PARCC, to align with Common Core standards adopted by about 40 states.
The PARCC tests are being used in about 11 states and the District of Columbia.
White says some 98.5 percent of eligible students took the PARCC test in the spring. Some areas had higher rates of non-participation than others, he said.
The Louisiana Department of Education will join BESE in developing a policy to address assessment of school quality where non-participation is a factor without giving unfair advantage to schools with higher numbers of non-participants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.