More Students Score at the Top Level Significant gains made by Ascension Parish students’ district-wide

Staff reports

In math, eighth graders scored a four-percentage point increase in the Mastery category. They also raised their scores three-percentage points in both English/language arts and social studies.

In science, fourth graders increased six percentage points and one percentage point in both social studies and English/language arts in the advanced category, the highest performance level.

“Our teachers and administrators have worked diligently to implement key initiatives in ASPIRE and Benchmark Assessments. Because of their efforts with these programs, we can be sure that our students are being actively engaged to bring them up to not only meet but to exceed high academic standards,” stated Ascension Parish Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Patrice Pujol. “Today’s results provide us with a confirmation that our district’s initiatives are succeeding,” Pujol said.

ASPIRE is a computer software tool that holds thousands exam questions that our teachers have created. In addition to district-wide assessments, the software also gives our teachers the ability to create exams for day-to-day classroom tests.

This was the first year where students in sixth through eleventh grade took quarterly benchmark exams across the district. The data will be used to track a student’s progress throughout the school year and eventually his or her school career. Evaluating the exam results will allow the district to identify areas in the curriculum that need more or less attention as well as individual students who may not be grasping the subject and need more instruction.

The state department’s report on test scores went on to show that while there were slight dips among Ascension Parish fourth graders in math and social studies, there were large gains in the overall performance of Ascension students who scored proficient in all four categories. The proficiency scores include all those students who scored Basic, Advanced or Mastery on the state’s high-stakes GEE exams.

Leading the way were the eighth graders who excelled in all four categories including a seven-percentage point increase in social studies. In English/language arts, eighth graders as well as tenth and eleventh grade students increased a substantial six percentage points, while fourth graders grew by two. Math scores were up five percentage points for eighth graders and rose by three percentage points for tenth and eleventh grade students. And in science, tenth and eleventh grade students had a sizeable six-percentage point increase, while eighth graders jumped up by three.

 Ascension Parish Public Schools Superintendent Donald Songy too praised the teachers and administrators for their dedication to the students.

“Our teachers and administrators are to be applauded for the commitment they make each and every day to assure that our students are receiving the highest quality of education. The impact our teachers have on our students’ lives is truly remarkable. They are the ones who are assuring that our students are continuing to perform at the highest possible level,” Songy said.

Songy also praised Pujol and the School Improvement Department staff for their leadership in developing the district’s improvement plan and helping schools to implement the ASPIRE and Benchmark Assessment initiatives.