In Louisiana, most jobs require some education after high school, primarily at a four-year college or at a two-year technical and community college. This is a change from jobs of generations past. In 2011, 28 percent of the Louisiana workforce had a two- or four-year degree. To meet Louisiana's future job needs, that number must double.
In order to ensure our students are ready for Louisiana's economy, our state is moving to higher standards. By 2025, we aim for an "A school" to be one where students on average are achieving at the mastery bar. Right now, students in an "A school' are achieving at the basic bar.
As we raise expectations, the Department recognizes that educators need time to learn these new standards and the tests associated with them. As such, the Department and BESE have approved a set of transition policies that allow educators, parents, and students time to learn the new expectations.
Today, I will be hosting a live teacher town hall for all educators at 5:30 pm to explain these policies in detail and answer questions. Click here to access the livestream of this event and click here to email your questions for the townhall.
Below is a brief overview of the transition policies:
Long-term goal: By the year 2025, A-rated schools will average "mastery" or "level four" performance. Today, schools rated "A" at a minimum average "basic" or "level three." A "level four" or "mastery" is the standard for college and career readiness.
New Assessments: Louisiana will move to the PARCC assessment for grades 3-8 in 2014-2015. Louisiana will not be changing high school assessments in 2014-2015, and the Department will share a proposal for high school transition in late January.
School and district accountability: Given that Louisiana students will be taking new tests, School letter grades will be awarded based on a curve in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. The curve will be determined using the 2012-2013 distribution. For example, if 10 percent of schools earned an "A" in 2012-2013, the top 10 percent of schools would earn an "A" in 2013-2014 and in 2014-2015. Only after we have a new baseline of accountability results in 2015 will BESE begin raising the bar toward our 2025 goal when an "A" school will be a school where the majority of students are college- and career-ready, as determined by a score of 4 out of 5. This two year window in which a baseline will be set will allow educators time to learn the new expectations. This means that we will start the gradual raise of the letter grade bar from a fair baseline starting in the 2015-2016 school year.
Educator accountability: For 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, tValue-added data will not be available, as tests are changing from one year to the next. The state will provide districts with transitional growth data, but there will be no requirement value-added data be used in Compass ratings for 2014 and 2015.
Curriculum: In addition to the Classroom Support Toolbox curriculum resources, the state will produce a Louisiana Curriculum Guidebook in ELA and math.
Technology: Students in grades three and four will take paper and pencil PARCC tests in 2015. Following a "dry run" of technology systems fall 2014, districts may request that other grade levels be administered paper tests if technology systems are not yet ready for PARCC administration. In 2016, tests will be administered online for all students.