By Kyle Roberts
Dana Talley had the honor of updating the Lincoln School Board in July’s meeting in regards to the progression of LEAP scores in the parish.
And while the parish’s Chief Financial Officer recognizes that there is still work to be done, the overwhelming news she shared regarding LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) was positive for the students in the parish.
“We are trending in the right direction, without a doubt,” Talley said. “We still have a lot of work to do. And we are committed because it’s great they our overall results are good, but what we care about is individual students.”
Talley presented scores from the appropriates grade levels in A.E. Phillips, Choudrant Jr. High and High School, Ruston Jr. High and High School, and Simsboro Jr. High and High School.
The numbers specifically were to review results back to 2019 to see how scores are comparing to pre-pandemic school years.
Talley explained that the most important numbers to review are the “proficiency” score increases from 2019 to 2023, which is defined as “calculated by the number of students scoring Mastery or Advanced by the total number of students completing the assessment” (BESE Bulletin, 2018).
“We have all or the majority of our students on grade level in every subject area,” Talley said. “So we always start with the overall, and the we start digging into subgroups and then teachers and then individual kids. Because even if our results are good, that doesn’t mean that we won’t have action steps— even in Algebra I, where we had the most growth.”
Of the six subjects, Lincoln Parish saw an increase in proficiencies in Algebra I (42.3 to 57.2 percent), English I (44.4 to 60.6 percent), English II (50.9 to 60.3 percent), and Biology (27.8 to 37.9 percent) over the four-year span.
“I think we’ve recovered for the most part from the pandemic,” Lincoln Parish School Board president Ricky Durrett said. “We’ve gotten kids back to the level we were at and even exceeded. There’s still work to be done, but I’m proud of the job that those teachers and those administrators have done getting kids back in school and working hard to make up some ground that was lost during the pandemic.
U.S. History proficiency was nearly identical (34.8 to 34.7 percent, a drop of .1 percent), while Geometry was the outlier, dropping from 51.0 percent in 2019 to 44.4 percent in 2023.
“I don’t think we’re where we want to be yet,” Durrett said. “I think we’re most proud of the Algebra I scores and the job those teachers did. I think it says a lot, too, with our junior high and what they did preparing kids as they came into ninth grade. Those are the things we want now.
“We know we still have work to do in science, but it’s headed in the right direction. We’ve got work to make up in social studies, but it’s headed in the right direction. We’ve got to figure out some things in geometry— why is it so much lower? But we’re going to work on those. We’re never going to be satisfied with where we are at until we have 100 percent advanced scoring.”
The results can be viewed below.