I’m often irritated by how the local media covers education issues in Baton Rouge. It’s almost like our local newspaper is an extension of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System rather than a real source of information for parents and taxpayers. Recently, the Louisiana Department of Education released student progress data for all schools in Louisiana. Upon release of this data, the headline in the local paper was, “Slightly more ‘top growth’ students in Baton Rouge area school districts, while state unchanged” . As a parent, voter and taxpayer, I simply want to understand:
What does “Student Progress” mean? How Much Student Progress is ENOUGH? + WHO is WINNING BIG for Students in BATON ROUGE?
YOU TOO? Okay, here is my best explanation ☺
The state of Louisiana’s accountability system measures not only where students ended up, but how much progress they made to get there. The new accountability system intends to give parents a more complete picture of student learning by marrying achievement data with progress (or growth) data.
Let me explain. To earn the new “top growth” label, a student merely needs to meet or exceed individual growth targets issued annually by the state or to outperform other students whom the state considers their peers in the classroom. In more clear terms, when students simply LEARN WHAT THEY ARE EXPECTED TO LEARN IN ONE YEAR, they are given the label “TOP GROWTH”. Kind of misleading huh? In my day when you learn what you should, it was just considered…NORMAL. My feelings of normalness aside, I do agree that it’s good to know which schools are “growing students” each year.
NOTE: Because the student progress measure considers where a student started–his or her prior achievement level–schools and school systems serving students who enter school with learning gaps can earn an ‘A’ in the progress measure for improving outcomes, even if students need time to reach full mastery. To be clear, Progress DOES NOT EQUAL Mastery.
My opinion is that at least 75% of students in every school, in every school system should LEARN WHAT THEY ARE EXPECTED TO LEARN IN ONE YEAR. Nothing scientific about it. In East Baton Rouge Parish, where we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars and employing thousands of humans, it is not an unrealistic expectation that most students would meet or exceed individual growth targets.
What percentage of students do you feel should LEARN WHAT THEY ARE EXPECTED TO LEARN IN ONE YEAR in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools?
Last school year, ONLY 48% of students in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System learned what they were expected to learn in English and ONLY 43% learned what they were expected to learn in Math.
This is a problem.
When looking through progress data, IDEA Innovation, a public charter school, stood out to me as an exemplar of growing students, especially Black and Latino students. At IDEA Innovation 78% of the students were “Top Growth” in Math and 62% in English. That’s compared to the 43% of students in EBR Schools achieving “Top Growth” in Math and 48% in English.
IDEA Innovation started out as a Kindergarten through 4th and 6th through 8th grade campus with grade levels being added every year, until grades K – 12 are served. If I were a parent with children in this age range I would check them out TODAY!!!
I have no doubt that there are more schools working hard to grow students. If you have examples, please share with us at info@UrbanEdBR.com . We would love to hear from you.
Louisiana Department of Education [https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/test-results/2019-student-progress-media-briefing.pdf?sfvrsn=b1d29d1f_4] The Advocate [https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/education/article_eae9971e-c902-11e9-9822-0f18e97ee26f.html] Louisiana Elementary & Middle School Performance Data [https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/test-results/2019-school-leap-20255-progress-summary.xlsx?sfvrsn=d6dc9d1f_6 ]