Final exam scores rise

MORGAN CITY, La. -- Education officials say the number of Louisiana high school students deemed “proficient” in subjects measured by end-of-course exams improved by 4 percentage points this year, the same number as St. Mary Parish students.

The tests, which have replaced the Graduate Exit Exam, cover algebra 1, geometry, English 2, English 3 and biology, with U.S. history added this year. Students can earn a grade of excellent, good, fair or needs improvement.

To graduate, a student must get a grade of at least “fair” in one of the math exams, one of the English exams and on either the history or biology exam. A good or excellent score means the student is judged proficient. Figures released by the state Education Department on Tuesday show 59 percent of the students in the state were judged proficient in all subjects this school year, compared to 55 percent last year.

In St. Mary Parish, 58 percent of students were deemed proficient in all subjects this year, compared to 54 percent in the previous school year, according to state data.

Overall, 87 percent of St. Mary Parish students passed the six core courses that comprise Louisiana’s high stakes examination program, Superintendent Donald Aguillard said in a news release.

In St. Mary Parish, results indicate that initial test-takers performed well in all four content areas with 84 percent of students passing the course testing in algebra, 83 percent in geometry, 91 percent in English 2, 93 percent in English 3, 81 percent in U.S. history and 90 percent in biology, Aguillard said.

Eighth grade students enrolled in Algebra 1 accomplished a passage rate of 98 percent with 38 percent of eighth graders achieving an excellent achievement level, according to the superintendent.

Proficiency exemplifies the percentage of students receiving the highest achievement levels of good or excellent. Individual course proficiency rates for 2012-13 were reported as 52 percent in algebra 1, 53 percent in geometry, 71 percent in English 2, 59 percent in English 3, 62 percent in biology, and 52 percent in U.S. history, Aguillard said.

It is the combined rate of proficiency for all subjects that rose by 4 percent in St. Mary Parish. End-of-Course test data represents 25 percent of a high school’s overall school performance score, which is set to be released in the fall.

“End-of-Course results substantiate the district’s strict adherence to instructional goals. Teachers have clearly challenged students to excel and provided them with the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish the task successfully,” Aguillard said.

Across the state, the Zachary, St. Tammany Parish, Vernon Parish, Central and Vermilion Parish school districts led the state with 75 percent proficiency. Topping the list of districts with high growth were Union Parish, which went from 35 percent to 47 percent; and Evangeline Parish, from 52 percent to 64 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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