St. Mary Parish students score better than state average, tie 2012 score

The average scores of students in St. Mary Parish public schools meeting or exceeding promotional standards in fourth and eighth grades beat the state average, while students in grades three through eight scoring basic or above maintained their average of 70 percent.

During spring testing, 82 percent of fourth grade students and 75 percent of eighth grade students met the state’s mandate of proficiency in the English language arts and mathematics components of the LEAP test. They beat the state averages by three and one points, respectively, St. Mary Parish Superintendent Donald Aguillard said.

Meanwhile, students in grades three to eight rose above state performance levels with an average of 70 percent, scoring basic or above in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The same group also scored 70 percent on the same tests in 2012.

In reports of all students scoring basic or above in the core content areas, St. Mary students performed above the state in 15 of 24 tests. High performance in all four core areas was exhibited by students in grades three, five and seven.

“Strong mathematics proficiencies were evident in grades three through eight as students at each grade level scored above the state average,” Aguillard said. “Math scores also revealed excellence in the highest achievement levels as an average of 30 percent of elementary students scored at the advanced or mastery level.”

At the high school level, End-of-Course tests have gradually replaced the Graduation Exit Exam and measure skills or content of a given course rather than a culmination of knowledge from a core area of instruction. The tests became high-stakes with the freshman class of 2010-11. Incoming students now are required to pass three End-of-Course tests in the following areas: English 2 or English 3, algebra 1 or geometry and biology or U.S. history.

Students attain one of four levels of achievement ranging from excellent to needs improvement. Any student who fails to meet the proficiency standard may retest at a later date. In addition to being part of high school graduation requirements, the tests count as the course’s final exam. Although individual student scores are provided three days after the online tests are completed, overall proficiency levels have not yet been released by the state department, Aguillard said.

“The state’s release of academic performance levels among all testers solidifies the district’s ongoing commitment of meeting student needs,” Aguillard said. “Score reports are a testament to the efforts of teachers, administrators and instructional staff who have worked diligently to prepare students for the more difficult Common Core state standards. This year of transition has been challenging, and yet the students of our district continue to rise to the expectations set by classroom teachers. As we continue to transition to the (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments in the coming years, I have every confidence that students will greatly benefit.”

Students in grades four and eight who failed to attain promotional standards will attend summer remediation and have the opportunity to retest in July. Summer school sessions will be offered at four sites: Morgan City Junior High, Patterson Junior High, Franklin Junior High and B.E. Boudreaux Middle School. Remediation classes in other grades may be offered as needed, based on individual student scores. Summer school will run from May 30 to June 28, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. each weekday.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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