The number of public schools that face state takeovers or other sanctions may rise Tuesday when scores are released amid tougher standards.
The tally marks the first glance at school performance since higher minimum scores were approved by the state’s top school board last year.
Since 2005, schools have had to achieve scores of at least 60 out of about 200 to avoid penalties.
However, that minimum rises to 65 this year and 75 next year, sparking predictions that the list of troubled schools will rise sharply.
“Obviously the bar was raised,” said Chas Roemer, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and a key figure in the recent push for tougher standards.
Roemer on Monday declined to predict whether the new standards will spark a hike in the number of academically unacceptable schools.
Backers say they expect school scores will gradually improve because of higher expectations.
BESE President Penny Dastugue said officials always assumed the standards would rise periodically and that this one has not gone up since Hurricane Katrina.
Last year 48 of Louisiana’s roughly 1,300 public schools failed to meet the minimum score, including nine in East Baton Rouge Parish.
However, officials said at the time that, if this year’s standard had been in effect, another 41 would have been labeled as academically unacceptable and 160 more next year.
In 2005 the list of troubled schools shot up from 78 to 175 when the minimum score was raised to 60 from 45.
The results, which are called school performance scores, amount to annual report cards for public schools.
They are based on key test scores, attendance and dropout rates.
The average score last year was 91.8. The state’s goal is for all schools to reach 120 by 2014.
The tougher standard was the product of talks and controversy that went on for weeks.
In December 2009 the Louisiana School and District Accountability Commission voted 15-7 to raise the minimum score to 70 this year and 75 next year.
Critics argued that the change was too fast, would be unfair to struggling districts and that it should be phased in by five points per year for three years.
In December 2010 the state board voted 6-3 to raise the minimum score to 65 this year and 75 next year.
Roemer said at the time that even a school score of 75 means that 48 percent of students there are performing below grade level.
Former Ascension Parish Superintendent Donald Songy, who was on the commission at the time, said Monday he does not think the number of academically unacceptable schools will rise much because the minimum score is only going up by five points.
He added, “We think 75 is reasonable if you give schools and districts enough time to improve.”
Songy is a candidate for Roemer’s BESE post, which will be on the ballot Oct. 22.
Last year four public schools in East Baton Rouge Parish left the list of academically unacceptable and two others joined it.