A vote by Louisiana’s top school board on Oct. 13 will be crucial in ensuring that Common Core test results in Louisiana are comparable to scores in other states, state Superintendent of Education John White said Monday.
Under the plan, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will consider how scores on the exam translate into one of five achievement levels — advanced, mastery, basic, approaching basic and unsatisfactory.
White said the proposal is especially important for a state whose students are routinely ranked near the bottom in academic achievement.
“It is about the right of our kids to compete on a level playing field with kids across the country,” he said.
Common Core represents revamped academic benchmarks in reading, writing and math.
About 320,000 students in grades three through eight took tests in March and May on what they know about the standards.
Statewide results are set for release on Oct. 12.
The next day, BESE is scheduled to vote on “cut scores,” which are the numerical levels that determine in which of the five performance levels students are placed.
Scores range from 650 to 850.
Under the proposal by the state Department of Education, a third-grader would have to score 790 to 850 to qualify for the top level in math — advanced.
In English, students would have to score 810 to 850 for the top level.
Students in 10 other states and the District of Columbia will be judged by identical ranges, regardless of what the five classifications are called elsewhere.
White said he is confident BESE will approve the plan.
“However, if they try to lower expectations, then I think it would say something very sad about the direction of our state,” he said.
White said LEAP and other tests used in the past have set the bar lower than other states measuring math and English skills.
White said last month that Common Core test results in Louisiana will be sobering and that the state has a long way to go to be competitive with others.
“It is always hard when you compete,” he said Monday. “You are going to see your strengths and weaknesses in a very honest way.”
White announced last week that statewide results for the Common Core exams would be released next week.
Like most issues associated with the new standards, the rollout of the test results has sparked controversy.
White said the state is following a timeline announced 11 months ago.
Some local superintendents contend the information, including raw scores, should have been made available to local school districts weeks ago to aid in the current school year.
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