In the Louisiana application for the ESEA waiver of No Child Left Behind, Superintendent John White criticized the results of past teacher evaluations in Louisiana that yielded a high percentage of proficient teacher ratings even though more than one third of Louisiana students were not achieving at grade level on annual state assessments.
Is it correct to assume that the quality of teaching in a particular school system can be equated to the performance of its students on the state standardized testing system, or could there be other factors that affect student performance other than the quality of instruction? Do the letter grades given to our individual schools and school systems really reflect the quality of instruction in those systems?
The following analysis and table compares the student performance in each of the 74 public school systems in Louisiana with an accepted measure of student poverty (the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch). Using the latest LDOE analysis of state testing, school systems are ranked according to overall student performance along with the percentage of at risk students in each school system as determined by the free or reduced lunch data.
The table below demonstrates that the lowest three performing school systems: The Louisiana Recovery District, the Baton Rouge Recovery District and the St. Helena school district also had the highest percentage of students in poverty in the state (approximately 97.5% of students in those three systems were on free or reduced lunch). In addition, the rankings of all the other school systems indicate a clear relationship between average student performance and the rate of student poverty. Most of the school systems fall at approximately the same position on the academic achievement ranking as they fall on average family income ranking. As the level of poverty goes up, the level of student achievement goes down. It is an almost perfect mathematical relationship. In fact, the three school systems with the highest performance in the state have basically the lowest level of student poverty.
|2014 Percentile Ranks for Percent of Students Basic and Above (LEAP and iLEAP state testing) and 2013 letter grade|
|Site Name||% of students on free or reduced lunch||Letter grade assigned for 2013||Ranking for % proficient for 2014||2014 Basic or Above (Percentile Rank)|
|ZACHARY COM. SCHOOL DIS.||44.3%||A||1||100|
|ST. TAMMANY PARISH||48.0%||A||9||89|
|CENTRAL COM. SCHOOL DIS.||50.6%||A||2||97|
|WEST FELICIANA PARISH||52.3%||A||7||89|
|ST. CHARLES PARISH||53.0%||A||4||95|
|JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH||58.4%||B||14||80|
|ORLEANS (WITHOUT RSD)||67.0%||A||6||89|
|ST. JAMES PARISH||68.7%||B||26||60|
|WEST BATON ROUGE PAR.||70.3%||B||30||63|
|ST. MARY PARISH||73.9%||B||29||63|
|ST. MARTIN PARISH||75.2%||B||43||43|
|WEST CARROLL PARISH||76.3%||C||18||71|
|ST. LANDRY PARISH||78.0%||D||51||21|
|CITY OF MONROE SCHOOL DIS.||79.7%||D||46||21|
|EAST BATON ROUGE W/O RSD||81.9%||C||49||30|
|CITY OF BAKER SCHOOL DIS.||82.4%||D||70||5|
|EAST FELICIANA PARISH||83.7%||C||58||21|
|ST. BERNARD PARISH||84.0%||A||11||86|
|EAST CARROLL PARISH||84.1%||C||66||19|
|POINTE COUPEE PARISH||85.0%||C||60||30|
|RED RIVER PARISH||87.8%||C||57||10|
|CITY OF BOGALUSA SC. DIS.||94.7%||D||67||5|
|ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PAR.||97.5%||C||50||38|
|ST. HELENA PARISH||97.5%||F||72||1|