By Malcolm Butler
Lincoln Parish students in grade 3 through 8 made a nice rebound in their 2021-22 Louisiana Educational Assessment Program scores released by the state on Wednesday.
After a one-year hiatus of LEAP testing during the 2019-20 academic year which was cut short due to Covid 19, the state resumed testing in 2020-21. And as most people expected, scores dropped across the state due to a number of factors, mostly pertaining to the interruption of traditional classroom attendance due to continued issues from Covid.
Lincoln Parish saw a drop from 38 percent across the district in 2018-19 to 31 percent in 2020-21.
“We took a dip in every subject,” said Dana Talley, Chief Academic Officer for Lincoln Parish Schools. “That was across the state. Across the nation. The 2021-22 scores were our new baseline. So, the question was, how quickly were we going to bounce back. ”
Well, the answer came in the way of impressive growth in the 2021-22 LEAP scores.
Lincoln Parish children showed tremendous growth as the district ranked tied for No. 2 in the state with a 4 percent increase in growth out of a total of 72 districts across the state of Louisiana. The percentage of Lincoln Parish children that tested at a mastery level moved from 31 percent to 35 percent in just one year. One district in the state had a 5 percent growth while a handful, including Lincoln Parish, came in right behind with 4 percent.
“We are excited with the growth that we have had,” said Lincoln Parish School Board Superintendent Ricky Durrett. “We feel that the time we have put in with summer school this past summer and the summer before helped in trying to recover some of the learning. We are trying to get us back to where we were before the pandemic. We feel our teachers and students have really achieved at a really great level.”
When high school LEAP scores are included into the district mix, Lincoln Parish saw a jump from 34 percent to 37 percent in its student base testing at the mastery level. This ranked tied for 5th in the state.
“We have a higher goal than this, but we are trending in the right direction,” said Talley.
Lincoln Parish students in grades 3 through 8 saw growth in all four areas of the LEAP test. ELA grew from 41 percent to 43 percent while math grew from 30 percent to 34 percent. Science improved from 25 percent to 31 percent while social students increased from 28 percent to 34 percent.
Both science (31 percent compared to 30 percent) and social studies (34 percent to 30 percent) have already rebounded past the scores from 2018-19 while ELA, math and the overall scores still fall slightly short.
“We have not fully recovered, but we are well on our way,” said Durrett. “I think what is important to understand is the first half of the 2021-22 school year we were still in Covid. We were still having kids at home and back and forth. It really wasn’t until about the end of January when things became more regular again. A lot of credit goes to our principals, teachers and students.”
The Lincoln Parish district ranks in the top 20 in proficiency among the 72 districts in its overall scores in grades 3 through 8 and in the top 16 in proficiency when the high school scores are included.
Lincoln Parish is tied with Ouachita Parish and trails only Bossier Parish in its overall scores (grade 3 through 8) in the most recent scores when looking at districts across north Louisiana, including Bienville, Caddo, Jackson, Webster, City of Monroe, Union, Claiborne and Morehouse. Lincoln Parish is alone in second behind only Bossier when the high school scores are included.
AE Phillips led all Lincoln Parish schools in growth, improving 7 percent, followed by IA Lewis (6 percent), Choudrant Elementary (6 percent), Ruston Junior High (5 percent), and Ruston Elementary (4 percent).
Durrett said that no school within the parish saw a decrease in their scores.
District performance scores will be released later in the fall with the LEAP scores being a big part of the equation for grades 3 through 8 scores.
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