According to the LDOE, the scale scores for a rating of basic have not changed since they were created. It still takes a scale score of 301 to get a rating of Basic in 4th grade ELA and it still takes a score of 321 to get a rating of basic in 8th grade Math in 2014 just like it did in 2013. Even though the tests were made more difficult by going to the more rigorous Common Core aligned questions, the scale cut scores remained the same according to LDOE. But they also admit that the percentage of correct answers equating to those cut scores can change from year to year because of a process used by the testing company called “test equating”. That's an adjustment made mostly to insure that the students are not penalized or rewarded as the new test form either gets harder or easier.
In my blog post of August 17, I suggested that the statement made by the LDOE, that the percentage of Louisiana students scoring basic had remained steady even though the tests had gotten harder was misleading. My point was that the “test equating” process had adjusted the minimum raw percentage scores to insure that the percentage of students scoring basic remained steady. It was a rigged result, and no one really knows whether our students' learning remained steady from 2013 to 2014.
But the LDOE description of the LEAP design process made another statement that in my opinion further destroys their credibility in approving LEAP cut scores. Here it is, from the LDOE website. The following is the statement that concerns me.
2013 LEAP Results compared to NAEP ( percentage of students at Basic or above)
I believe that all this emphasis on testing is wrong because scores are manipulated and because these so called standardized tests are not a fair and accurate measure of our students and our schools in the first place. In my opinion, all that time our teachers were forced to spend drilling our students for taking the LEAP could have been much better spent teaching kids how to enjoy and appreciate reading, and math and science and history and music. We are killing all the joy of learning for both students and teachers and we have almost nothing to show for it.