Public school system does well on standardized state tests despite increase in challenge

Al Nita Miller, the system’s district supervisor of assessment and accountability

Results were mixed on the recently released state test scores for Iberville Parish from the state Department of Education, but Superintendent Arthur Joffrion, Ed.D., found more to be pleased with.

“We expected because of the increased rigor of the assessment as well as the change in the accountability system to see a decline in the schools’ as well as the district’s performance scores,” he said.

“We’re expecting that if we were to get a letter grade based on those index scores, it appears that we would receive four As, which would give us a score somewhere between 100 and 150,” he said, which would mean the district will have earned an A on the state’s grading scale.

“We are also pleased that even with the increase in the rigor of the test that our high school students’ scores seemed to have stayed the same,” Joffrion said. “We’re also proud about the increase in out ACT requirement.”

The ACT assessment for the district is one aspect that has changed, in that last year, the district received 100 index points for every score of 18 on the exam while this year, districts only receive 80 points for the same score. To receive 100 points with the tougher standards, the district only receives 100 points for scores of 21 or above, Joffrion said.

Al Nita Miller, the system’s district supervisor of assessment and accountability, came up with similar concerns and findings.

“Everything that we once used to measure school performance scores and district performance scores has changed, effective with these scores we just no received,” she said.

Miller presented a complex summary of the scores (the Post South will delve into that aspect in an article next week) but Miller said when “comparing apples to apples,” as in this year’s scores by last year’s criteria, there was growth shown in fourth, fifth and in high school scores in particular.

She said there was growth in English and language arts for students in third through eighth grade, with 1,700 students earning points for the district and 40 percent of those receiving the maximum number of posts.

Joffrion said that while the school district is satisfied with the numbers as presented so far, his staff is always trying to get scores higher.

“While we are not discouraged, of course we always want to see growth and we’re anxiously awaiting the school performance scores in the late fall,” he said.

Two areas where Joffrion was particularly pleased with the results was in the districts graduation points, which improved nearly 10 points from an 85.6 to a 95.8, and “we’ve seen a huge increase” in the number of students who have seven Carnegie unit credits after the end of the freshman year.