Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Student scores put Webster school district in high-ranking position

Webster Parish (WP) is in the top 16 highest ranking school districts, based on gains in the percentage of students performing at Basic and above on spring testing from 2011 to 2012, according to the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).

While Superintendent Steve Dozier is "extremely pleased" with the three point academic growth that placed WP in the top ranking, he has plans for much more next year.

"I feel next year with the improvement efforts and the continued focus on academics by our staff, we are going to get a target of eight points growth," Dozier said.

According to LDOE, 10,000 more Louisiana students are on grade level this year, compared to last year. Specifically, the percentage of students performing at grade level for all grades and subjects grew from 66 percent in 2011 to 68 percent in 2012.

The increase in test scores for WP students can be attributed to different factors, according to Dozier.

"We can attribute the increase in test scores to a more focused effort on teaching what students need to learn in order to be ready for the test," said Dozier. "Teachers, principals and district staff have been focused on providing what students need in order to be successful."

The superintendent said it should also be noted that WP students were focused on learning, and parents and school board members as well have been supportive of the schools and students.

Also among the contributing factors to the parish's academic growth, according to Dozier, were the efforts put forth by the JBHM Education Group, an educational academic firm utilized by the district this year in their educational plan to improve students scores.

Testing and Analysis

Each year, students in fourth and eighth grade participate in the high-stakes LEAP test, which determines whether they will be required to attend summer school or be retained. Students must score Basic or above in either English Language Arts (ELA) or math and Approaching Basic or above in the other subject to advance to the next grade.

Fourth graders have had to meet this requirement since 2004, while eighth graders have had to meet this requirement since 2006. Students who initially fail to meet the standards for promotion during spring testing are given another opportunity during the summer.

Students in third, fifth, sixth and seventh grades take the state's iLEAP test, which is designed to measure student progress but does not determine whether they will be retained in their current grade.

High school students in eleventh grade took Louisiana's Graduation Exit Examination, or GEE, which they are required to pass at some point in their high school career to earn a standard diploma.

This marks the last year that eleventh graders are taking the GEE, which has been replaced by the End-of-Course tests.

In order to graduate, students in the Class of 2014 and beyond must attain a passing score on three of the state's End-of-Course (EOC) tests: English II or English III, Algebra I or Geometry, and Biology or U.S. History. EOC exams are administered later in the spring and the results will be released over the summer.






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