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Fair Accountability: Is Re-routing Test Scores Undercutting the System? - Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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Fair Accountability: Is Re-routing Test Scores Undercutting the System?
A movement is underway to alter existing Bulletin 111 policy that governs the re-routing of LEAP, iLEAP and GEE test scores to neighborhood schools.
The Louisiana School Boards Association position is that Section 3504 of that bulletin requires that “the assessment results, and beginning in 2008 with the Baseline SPS, the dropout, and graduation data for every alternative education student at a routing alternative school shall be returned to ("sent back") and included in the home-based school's and district's accountability calculations for both the SPS and subgroup components. The alternative school itself shall receive a "diagnostic" SPS, not to be used for rewards or corrective actions, if a statistically valid number of students were enrolled in the school at the time of testing.”
If local districts are directed to have their state test scores routed back to their home-based schools the effect is to lower the actual performance of those home-based schools because alternative, disciplinary and options students have been removed from home-based schools for failure to meet expectations.
Clearly, according to Nolton Senegal, Sr., executive director of LSBA, it is not in the best interest of students attending neighborhood schools to have their schools negatively impacted by the poorer performing students who are not attending their schools.
The allowance that schools can re-route better performing student scores from magnet or theme schools exists in state regulations and should remain as a means of offsetting the transfer of poorer student scores into the neighborhood schools.
Senegal reported that LSBA believes that if a change in long-standing rules is indicated then it should be to prohibit re-routing of either group.
Proponents of change in the rules suggest that the two re-routing groups should not be linked as the lower performing group is expected to gain help in the alternative schools and then return to their neighborhood schools. The record on that count is anything but complete with a larger proportion of alternative and disciplinary school students leaving school than moving back.
Senegal believes that the issue is not one of undercutting the high ranking Louisiana accountability system. LSBA takes the position that it is unfair to force re-routing of low scoring students while encouraging high performing students to leave neighborhood schools and thus carrying their higher performing scores away from the neighborhood.
The new state accountability commission, at its inaugural meeting, heard that the department and the administration of Gov. Bobby Jindal is seriously considering shifting to a growth model.
Such a system is based upon following the progress of individual students as they move through the year and from grade to grade. This kind of system is achieving growing acceptance across America. It provides parents with what each of them hold as primary interest in the education program: How is my kid doing?
Such a system, Senegal suggests, might remove the need for re-routing of scores and more accurately reflect student achievement and school performance over time.
The re-routing issue is clearly important because if the accountability system is structured in such a way as to make neighborhood schools’ success nearly impossible, nearly all public schools will be labeled failing.
Almost no one, Senegal says, believes that the Recovery School District has the capacity to manage the failure rate that would grow out of such an unfair policy change.


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