|About test scores in Louisiana|
Although test scores are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2005-2006 Louisiana used two standards-based tests, the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century (LEAP 21, pronounced "leep") and the Graduate Exit Examination for the 21st Century (GEE 21) to measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Louisiana. The LEAP 21 was given to students in grades 4 and 8 in English language arts, math, science and social studies. The GEE 21 was administered to grade 10 students in English language arts and math and grade 11 students in science and social studies. Students must pass the GEE 21 to receive a high school diploma. Students who do not pass the GEE 21 the first time have multiple opportunities to retake the test.
In 2005-2006, the Integrated Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (iLEAP) replaced the two national norm-referenced tests, the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED), that were administered in previous years. The iLEAP combines items from The Iowa Tests (norm-referenced) and new test items that measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Louisiana (criterion-referenced). The iLEAP was administered in grades 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 in English language arts, math, science and social studies.
How are the tests scored?
iLEAP results are reported separately for the criterion-referenced and norm-referenced portions of the test. The criterion-referenced portion is reported using the five proficiency levels used by the LEAP 21 and GEE 21 tests: advanced, mastery, basic, approaching basic and unsatisfactory. The norm-referenced portion measures performance through a percentile based on the scores of all students of the same grade level in the nation. All students receive a percentile rank, which indicates how well they performed in comparison to peers in other states. If the number is 45, for example, students scored as well or better than 45% of students who took the test across the country. The national average for all schools is 50. The state's goal is for all students to score at or above the national average.
Which scores are included on GreatSchools profiles?
Why do the test scores matter?
Louisiana uses test results, along with several other measures, to create school performance scores. Schools that receive an unacceptable rating must participate in state-driven improvement efforts.
It is important to be aware of both your child's score on the assessments and the overall scores for his school. If your child scores below the standards, contact his teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child's learning at home. If the school's overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you as a parent can do to help.
A few parting words
Source: LA Dept. of Education, 2005-2006