03/09/12 LDOE PRESS RELEASE: LDOE HIGHLIGHTS TESTING RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS, STUDENTS, AND FAMILIES

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Louisiana Department of Education
Post Office Box 94064 | Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9064 | 1-877-453-2721 | Fax: (225) 342-0193

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 03/09/2012
Contact: Rene’ Greer, (225) 342-3600, Fax: (225) 342-0193

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS TESTING RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS, STUDENTS, AND FAMILIES

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana students and educators are gearing up to take standardized assessments.  To support preparation, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is once again offering assistance to parents and students through its Tutoring Hotline.  LDOE is also reminding families, students and teachers to take advantage of other available resources.

For the third straight year, most state tests will be administered in two phases (March 20, 2012 and April 12-13/April 16-17).  Therefore, the agency will host two corresponding sessions of the Hotline.  The first session will run from March 12 to March 19; while the second session will run from April 2 to April 12.  The Hotline is open from 5:00-7:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.  The toll-free phone number for the Hotline is 1-877-453-2721.

“As a former teacher, I know teachers, students, and families may be anxious as our testing dates approach,” State Superintendent of Education John White said.  “But through practice, we know students become more comfortable and confident, as they recognize they have the knowledge and skills to do well on the tests.  Also, they may identify areas where they need a little more help. Our hope is that teachers, families, and students will take advantage of these valuable resources.”

Louisiana began administering statewide tests in 1999.  While grade levels have been added to the state’s testing program during that time period, the most consistent measure of student progress, the percentage of students performing at grade level, has increased from 45 percent in 1999 to 66 percent in 2011.  Still, state education leaders say there is much work to do.

“It’s hard to imagine that fewer than half our students were at grade level a little more than a decade ago,” Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Penny Dastugue said.  “At the same time, one out of three students in our state is below grade level today.  We won’t be satisfied until every student is on track to graduate from high school and succeed in their college or career pursuits.”

Testing Resources

The assistance offered through the Tutoring Hotline is specifically centered on assisting 4th and 8th grade students and their families as they prepare to take the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) test.  Tutors assist students in answering questions from English Language Arts and math sample books that were developed by the LDOE and distributed to schools and students in February.

The agency also developed and distributed sample books for students participating in the state’s Graduation Exit Examination (GEE) tests.

In addition to the Tutoring Hotline, which the agency launched in 2008, the Department offers the following free resources on its website at www.louisianaschools.net:

  • Assessment Guides- The Assessment Guides, available to educators, contain descriptions of the test design and content, with reference sheets, sample items, and rubrics.
  • EAGLE- Web-based resource offering pre-developed tests and tools for creating customized teacher-developed tests using items aligned to the state’s Grade Level Expectations (GLEs).  This tool is available at any time to teachers and administrators.
  • Practice Assessment/Strengthening Skills (PASS) Online- Web-based practice tests with instructional feedback based on student responses.  PASS practice tests are designed to help Louisiana students prepare for the LEAP, GEE, Integrated Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (iLEAP), LEAP Alternate Assessment Level 2 (LAA 2), and End-of-Course (EOC) tests.  PASS Online includes tests in English Language Arts (ELA), math, science, and social studies.  Students may obtain a password to access this online resource through their school or by calling 1-877-453-2721.
  • PASS On Paper- Practice tests provided for students in grades 4, 8, 10 and 11 who may not have access to a home computer.  Students may download and print copies of the PASS On Paper tests, which offer lessons that are similar to those found on the state’s ELA, math, science and social students assessments.
  • Newton’s Classroom-Web-based math tutorials and assessments for students in grades 1-8.  Newton’s Classroom is an interactive online program that addresses place value, rounding, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percents, as well as addition/subtraction of fractions and multiplication/division of fractions.  A read-aloud (audio) function is available for place value and rounding.  Also included is an interactive multiplication flash card component with detailed student reports to help students recall multiplication facts quickly. Students may obtain a password to participate through their school or by calling 1-877-453-2721.
  • Reading Runway-This resource is a reading tutorial for students in grades Pre-K-3.  The program encourages the development of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, oral language, and comprehension. Students may obtain a password to participate through their school or by calling 1-877-453-2721.
  • Released Test Items-Examples of standardized test items and rubrics for instructional use in the classroom or at home.
  • Sample Test Books- These books are for students in 4th, 8th, 10th and 11th grades and contain items similar to those on the LEAP and GEE. Sample Test Books for 4th grade may be accessed here; 8th grade, here; 10th grade, here; and 11th grade, here.

For additional testing resources, including test-taking tips for families, please visit the Louisiana Department of Education’s website, www.louisianaschools.net.

2012 Testing Schedule

LEAP Alternate Assessments, Level 1 (LAA 1) tests were administered to students beginning in early February and concluding March 16. Spring 2012 testing dates for all other tests are as follows:

LEAP (4th and 8th Grade Students)

  • March 20: Fourth and eighth grade students take the writing sections of the ELA test, along with written response sections of the math test
  • April 12: Fourth and eighth grade students take the multiple choice and short answer sections of the ELA test
  • April 13: Fourth and eighth grade students take the multiple choice section of the math test
  • April 16: Fourth and eighth grade students take the science test
  • April 17: Fourth and eighth grade students take the social studies test

iLEAP (3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Grade Students)

  • April 12: Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 take the math test
  • April 13: Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 take the writing section of the ELA test
  • April 16: Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 take the multiple choice and short answer sections of the ELA test
  • April 17: Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 take the science and social studies tests

GEE (Students who entered as high school freshmen prior to 2010-2011, who previously failed one or more tests, or who are taking required tests for the first time as 11th graders)

  • March 20: Students take writing section of the ELA test, written response section of the math test, short answer and science task section of the science test, and written response section of the social studies test
  • April 12:  Students take multiple choice and written response sections of the ELA test and multiple choice section of the science test
  • April 13:  Students take the multiple choice section of the math test and the multiple choice section of the social studies test

EOC (Students who entered as high school freshmen in 2010-2011 or 2011-2012)

  • April 23-May 18: Testing window for students to take Algebra I, Geometry, English II, English III, and Biology.

LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 2 (LAA 2): Students in grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 who meet certain requirements

  • April 12: 4th-8th grade students and 10th grade students take the writing, multiple choice, and written response sections of the ELA test; 11th grade students take the science test
  • April 13: 4th-8th grade students and 10th grade students take the remaining multiple choice and short answer sections of the ELA test; 4th-8th grade students take the multiple choice section of the math test; 11th graders take the social studies test
  • April 16: 4th-8th grade students take the remaining multiple choice and written response sections of the math test; 10th grade students take the multiple choice sections of the math test
  • April 17: 4th and 8th grade students take the science test; 10th grade students take the written response section of the math test
  • April 18: 4th and 8th grade students take the social studies test

Louisiana’s Testing Program

Louisiana’s statewide assessments are based on GLEs, which define the knowledge and skills students should have obtained by the end of each grade in ELA, math, science, and social studies. Students do not receive a pass or fail grade, but receive an achievement level score.

For the first time this year, all 2nd grade students in Louisiana will participate in the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills on April 12-13 and April 16. These tests measure reading, language, and math. While 2nd grade students do not earn achievement levels, they do receive a numerical score.

Students in 4th and 8th grade participate in the high stakes LEAP test, which determines whether they will be required to attend summer school or be retained. The LEAP measures 4th and 8th grade students’ knowledge and skills in ELA, math, science, and social studies, and students must score Basic or above in either 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 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades take the state’s iLEAP test, which is designed to measure student progress, but is not used to determine whether they will be retained in their current grade. The iLEAP is referred to as an “integrated” LEAP because it combines a norm-referenced test, which compares a student’s test results to the performance of students in a national sample, with a criterion-referenced test, which reports student results in terms of the state’s standards.

Louisiana students who entered high school prior to 2010-2011 must pass the GEE to earn a standard high school diploma. To graduate, high school students must score Approaching Basic or above on the ELA and math sections of the exam, and Approaching Basic or above on either the science or the social studies components of the test.

The five achievement levels a student can earn on the LEAP, iLEAP, and GEE tests are:

  • AdvancedA student at this level has demonstrated superior performance beyond the level of mastery.
  • MasteryA student at this level has demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter and is well prepared for the next level of schooling.
  • BasicA student at this level has demonstrated only the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling.
  • Approaching BasicA student at this level has only partially demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling.
  • UnsatisfactoryA student at this level has not demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling.

Beginning in the 2010-11 school year, incoming high school freshmen must earn Fair or better on at least three EOC tests to take home a state-issued diploma. And the three passing scores must be in English II or English III, Algebra I or Geometry, and Biology or American History.

The four achievement levels students earn on EOC tests are:

  • Excellent
    A student at this achievement level has demonstrated mastery of course content beyond Good.
  • Good
    A student at this achievement level has demonstrated mastery of course content and is well prepared for the next level of coursework in the subject area.
  • Fair
    A student at this achievement level has demonstrated only the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of coursework in the subject area.
  • Needs Improvement
    A student at this achievement level has not demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of coursework in the subject area.

Students’ EOC scores on the English II, Algebra I, Geometry, and Biology tests also account for 15-30% of their course grade, as determined by local school board policy. English III EOC scores will become a component of students’ course grades in 2012-2013, while American History test scores will partially count towards students’ grades beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.

Louisiana’s state testing program includes alternate assessments for students with disabilities: LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 1 (LAA 1) and LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 2 (LAA 2). Students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) may participate in LAA 1 or LAA 2, or other state assessments, if they meet specific participation criteria.

The three achievement levels for the Louisiana Alternate Assessment, Level 1 (LAA 1) are:

  • Exceeds Standard
    A student at this level has demonstrated expanded academic knowledge and skills included in the grade-level Extended Standards.
  • Meets Standard
    A student at this level has demonstrated fundamentalacademic knowledge and skills included in the grade-level Extended Standards.
  • Working Toward Standard
    A student at this level has demonstrated minimal or inconsistent academic knowledge and skills included in the grade-level Extended Standards. However, the student may be developing introductory academic knowledge and skills that can be built upon to access the grade-level curriculum.

The four achievement levels for the Louisiana Alternate Assessment, Level 2 (LAA2) are:

  • Basic
    A student at this level has demonstrated only the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling.
  • Approaching Basic
    A student at this level has only partially demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling.
  • Foundational
    A student at this level has not demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling, but has demonstrated the foundational knowledge and skills that can be built upon to access the grade-level curriculum.
  • Pre-Foundational
    A student at this level has not demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling. However, the student may be developing the foundational knowledge and skills that can be built upon to access the grade-level curriculum.

Over the course of the next two years, Louisiana will be transitioning its statewide testing program to assessments that line up with the national Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Louisiana and 23 other states have formed a consortium, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The group is working to develop new CCSS-aligned tests. The CCSS are designed to identify the skills and knowledge students need to graduate from high school and attain a college degree or succeed in a professional career. During the transition to the new standards, which will occur during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, students in grades 3-8 and high school will take transitional assessments. Louisiana, which is a governing state in the PARCC initiative, will fully implement the CCSS and PARCC assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.

Louisiana Department of Education Website >>>

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