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School report cards released

by Minden Press-Herald

School performance scores and letter grades are out and Webster Parish Schools appear to be down 10 points, from an 83 C to a 73 C.

However, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls says the scores aren’t accurate because the tests given from one year to the next are different.

The highest score was North Webster High School, named as a Top Gains School, by 10.5 points, scoring an 86.3 B, up from a 75.8 C. The lowest scoring school was Webster Junior High School, decreasing by 20.9 points, from a 79.1 C to a 58.2 D.

“You absolutely do not know until you extrapolate those scores teacher by teacher,” he said when asked about the sharp decline. “We haven’t audited them yet, and we’re going to have to go back teacher by teacher and look at those test scores on their students. We can’t answer that question because we haven’t done the work yet. We just got them.”

He says the scores aren’t accurate because the test taken in the 2013-14 school year was a different test than the 2014-15 school year. The 2014-15 year was the first baseline year under the Partnerships for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC test.
The 2013-14 school year was supposed to be the first baseline year, but when the Louisiana Legislature banned the PARCC test for the 2015-16 school year, Rawls says State

Superintendent John White moved the first baseline year to the 2014-15 year. The test for the 2015-16 school year will only be up to 49 percent PARCC test questions.

Speaking on the appearance of the sharp decline in WJHS’s score, he says students were under a different curriculum and a different test.

“That’s the score on that test for that year,” he said. “You cannot compare that test with the scores from the year before because it was a different test. That’s exactly what they’re trying to do.”

He explained the state appears to be comparing scores from 2013-14 to 2014-15, and it’s impossible. Part of the issue is when the Department of Education released the scores, they did not release the rubric, or a set of criteria or standards, by which the state calculated the scores.

He believes the 2015-16 school year will not be a baseline year because this test will be different as well.

He sent an email to Kerry Laster, the Title I director for the state, for the scoring rubric used. As of press time, he says he has received no answer from her.

“BESE passed that grading curve and ruled that no score in any school can be lowered from one year to the next, but they did it anyway,” he said. “I can’t explain it, I don’t have the data. I don’t know how (the scores) were treated. What we’re trying to do is find out how they scored these tests.”

Another factor that is unexplained, he says, is the students who did not take the test. They scored a “0” on the test, and he says he wants to know if those students factored into the overall scores for each school.

“We’re questioning the state,” he said. “Where did the scores come from? Tell us how to score the rubric. Where did you get the curve, and how did you vet that? We want to know.”

The state received an overall score of 88.8 B, keeping the same letter grade as previous years.

School Grades

  • Webster Parish District Score: 73 C, down 10 points from an 83 C
  • Minden High School: 71.1 C, down 1.4 points from 72.5 C
  • Lakeside Junior-Senior High School: 81.6 C, down 4.4 points from 86 B
  • Webster Junior High School: 58.2 D, down 20.9 points from 79.4 C
  • J.A. Phillips Middle School: 78.3 C, up 2.6 points from 75.7 C
  • J.E. Harper Elementary School: 73.4 C, up .1 from 73.3 C
  • J.L. Jones Elementary School: 73.4 C, up .1 from 73.3 C
  • E.S. Richardson Elementary School: 74.4 C, down .8 points from 75.2 C
  • Brown Upper Elementary School: 57.1 D, down 15.4 points from a 72.5 C
  • Browning Elementary School: 57.1 D, down 15.4 points from a 72.5 C
  • North Webster Upper Elementary School: 92.4 B, down 3.1 points from a 95.5 B
  • Doyline High School: 86 B, a 2.1 increase from 83.9 C
  • Central Elementary School: 78.6 C, up 5.7 points from 72.9 C
  • North Webster Junior High School: 66.3 C, down 9.3 points from 75.6 C
  • North Webster Lower Elementary School: 92.4 B, down 3.1 points from 95.5 B
  • North Webster High School: 86.3 B, up 10.5 points from 75.8 C

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