Louisiana Achieves Number One Ranking in This Educational Category
For as long as I can remember, the state of education in Louisiana has left a lot to be desired.
"We're first in all of the bad categories and last in all of the good ones."
That's a common saying that I've gotten used to hearing throughout my life here in the Bayou State and I hate it. It's because of the reality of that statement that many of our best and brightest are leaving our beautiful state, a state whose potential is realized but has not been thoroughly tapped into in so many areas.
National test scores came out over the weekend and showed "heartbreaking" setbacks that happened over the Pandemic. That's according to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
The data prior to the pandemic did not reflect an education system that was on the right track,” said Cardona in this LA Times article. “The pandemic simply made it worse. It took poor performance and dropped it down even further.
Teachers' confidence to help their students learn and test well is waning and many teachers have left the profession across the country.
- Across the country, only about one in four eighth-graders met standards for proficiency on the national math assessment, down from about one in three in 2019.
- In reading, about 31% of eighth-graders met standards for proficiency, down from about 34% in 2019.
- In California, fourth-graders math scores fell by 4 points. Texas and Florida saw 5-point drops, Colorado saw a 6-point drop and New York had a 10-point drop.
- In reading, in fourth and eighth grades, a majority of states showed drops.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as The Nation's Report Card—assesses 4th and 8th graders in reading and math. It had been suspended since 2019 due to the global pandemic. It is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in various subject areas and is frequently referred to as the “gold standard” of student assessments.
Which brings us back to Louisiana.
Reading is one of the fundamentals to a student's success. It seems so basic but it's an important building block.
We shouldn’t chase shiny things and get distracted in Louisiana,” says Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s State Superintendent of Education. “Let’s focus on fundamentals like reading and math, supporting educators, and empowering parents.”
As Louisiana has not only dealt with the Pandemic but also with devastating hurricanes as well, administration, teachers, and students have been working to improve the state's Report Card.
Well, it appears their efforts are paying off. In the first national assessments since the global pandemic, Louisiana has a No. 1 ranking to hang its hat on. Louisiana ranks No. 1 in the nation for 2022 improvement in 4th grade reading scale scores and proficiency rates. Louisiana’s results outpaced national trends in all four NAEP grades and subjects.
I want to thank our teachers for their efforts through the pandemic and multiple hurricanes,” said Dr. Brumley. “This is not a ‘jump for joy’ moment because we still want to get better; however, they show our strategy for academic recovery and acceleration is working.
Louisiana has struggled for years with literacy. In 2011, 55 percent of Louisiana 4th graders scored basic or above on NAEP. Eight years later that number was exactly the same. This year’s results show that 57 percent of Louisiana 4th graders are now scoring basic or above in reading.
The progress our 4th graders made in reading is a testament to Louisiana’s educators for embracing our fundamental shift in how we teach students to read,” said Dr. Jenna Chiasson, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. "We’ve set ambitious goals for our children and these results are a step in the right direction.”
For the second consecutive year, Louisiana school systems are developing their Louisiana Comeback plan. Last school year’s data, system plans, and a financial dashboard can be found at louisianacomeback.com.
As you will see in the numbers below, there is still a lot of work to be done in the state. But, at least we can say that we are truly heading in the right direction.