Louisiana – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of the Louisiana plan approved by the US ED on August 15, 2017.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. Louisiana included the following college- and career-readiness expectation in its plan.

  1. School performance indicator: ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. Louisiana’s indicator of school quality or student success awards points to schools for students meeting any of the following measures.
    • Middle grades schools: Course credits accumulated by the end of ninth grade, to keep students on track for high school graduation – called the dropout credit accumulation index
    • High schools
      • Strength of diploma, as measured by student attainment of any of the following milestones.
        • Associate degree
        • Earned credit in AP, IP or dual enrollment courses
        • Performance on AP, IB or CLEP exams
        • Earned high-wage, high-growth industry credentials
        • Graduation in five or six years or completion of an equivalency diploma
      • ACT exam composite score of 21 or higher (for an “A” letter grade)
      • ACT WorkKeys exam gold certificate or higher (for an “A” letter grade)

Read about this expectation below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rate and English language proficiency for English learners.

Louisiana established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2025, 64 percent of all students and student subgroups will reach the mastery level or above on Louisiana’s English language arts assessments, and 57 percent will reach the mastery level or above on the math assessments.

Graduation rate

  • By 2025, 90 percent of all students and student subgroups will graduate from high school in four years.

English language proficiency

  • By 2025, 63 percent of English learners will meet annual English language proficiency growth targets.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators that states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Louisiana established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards proficiency on state English language proficiency assessment – English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT). To be included in accountability results beginning in 2018-19 after implementation of the new assessment in 2017-18.

School quality or student success

  • Weighted achievement on state science and social studies assessments – Louisiana Education Assessment Program (LEAP) and end-of-course tests
  • The state plan also notes that Louisiana plans to include an interests and opportunities indicator beginning no later than 2019-20. This indicator will measure whether schools are providing students with access to a well-rounded curriculum.

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Weighted achievement on state English language arts and math assessments – LEAP

Other academic indicator: Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments –  LEAP

  • Growth-to-standard
  • Growth compared to similar peers, based on prior test scores, attendance and discipline records (value-added model)

School quality or student success for middle grades schools

  • Course credits accumulated by the end of ninth grade to keep students on track to graduation from high school – called the dropout credit accumulation index

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Weighted achievement on state English language arts and math assessments – end-of-course tests
  • Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – end-of-course tests
    • Growth-to-standard
    • Growth compared to similar peers, based on prior test scores, attendance and discipline records (value-added model)

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

School quality or student success

  • Strength of diploma, as measured by student attainment of any of the following milestones:
    • Associate degree
    • Earned credit in AP, IB or dual enrollment courses
    • Performance on AP, IB or CLEP exams
    • Earned high-wage, high-growth industry credentials
    • Graduation in five or six years or completion of an equivalency diploma
  • ACT exam composite score of 21 or higher (for an “A” letter grade)
  • ACT WorkKeys exam gold certificate or higher (for an “A” letter grade)

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Louisiana established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups.

Framework for differentiating schools in Louisiana

On an annual basis, schools will receive a weighted index score for each indicator, and one overall summative letter grade, A through F, based on a scale of 0 to 150. Between 2017-18 and 2024-25, Louisiana will raise the expectation for how many points schools must earn to receive a letter grade of “A,” “B” or “C.”

Weights assigned to each indicator in Louisiana

Weights assigned to each indicator in Louisiana - Elementary Schools (50% Academic Achievement and English Language Proficiency Progress / 25% Other Academic Indicator / 25% School Quality or Student Success), Middle Grades (46.67% Academic Achievement and English Language Proficiency Progress / 28.33% School Quality or Student Success / 25% Other Academic Indicator) and High Schools (41.67% Graduation Rate / 37.5% School Quality or Student Success / 20.83% Academic Achievement and English Language Proficiency Progress)

Note. The English language proficiency progress indicator is combined with the academic achievement indicator, and is weighted equally to the academic assessments for each English learner.

Student subgroups in Louisiana

  • Subgroups: For state accountability, Louisiana will focus on eight student subgroups – economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian students, black or African-American students, Hispanic or Latino students, and white students. For reporting purposes only, Louisiana will include two additional subgroups – homeless students and military-affiliated students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 10 students (n-count) for any one of the subgroups, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator.
  • Use of subgroup data in school ratings: Louisiana uses subgroup performance data to identify schools for targeted support and improvement (TSI, see below) and publicly reports subgroup performance data for each indicator, as required by ESSA.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

ESSA requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Louisiana established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified annually beginning in 2017-18 using multiple years of data, any schools that meet any of these criteria:

    • CSI schools: Schools that receive an overall “D” or “F” letter grade for three consecutive years
    • CSI high schools: Schools with less than a 67 percent graduation rate
    • TSI schools: Schools that do not exit TSI status for the identified student subgroup after three years

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    Local education agencies (LEAs) lead the interventions. State will support LEAs and their schools by providing:

    • Competitive grant funding and resource allocation review
    • Regional turnaround support manager to conduct site visits and monitor progress  
    • Technical assistance with needs assessment and planning, for LEAs with a significant number or percentage of CSI schools
    • Professional learning network that will include instructional coaching

    After four years, schools not exiting CSI status may be subject to more rigorous state interventions, including being assigned to the state-run recovery school district, or a similar state-led or state and district-led improvement zone.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After two years, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • Receiving an overall “C” letter grade for two consecutive years
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        Called “urgent intervention required” schools, which may not earn an overall “A” letter grade. Identified annually beginning in 2017-18, any schools that meet any of the following criteria.

        • TSI schools: Schools with a “consistently underperforming” subgroup that would, if taken on its own, lead to a school score equivalent to an “F” letter grade for two consecutive years
        • Additional TSI schools: Schools with out-of-school suspension rates at twice the national average for three consecutive years

        Schools with a student subgroup that would, if taken on its own, lead to a school score equivalent to a “D” or “F” letter grade in any one year will not be labelled TSI schools but will be categorized as “urgent intervention needed.” This status will be for reporting only, and no interventions are legally required.

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          LEAs lead the intervention. State will support LEAs and their schools by providing:

          • Competitive grant funding and resource allocation review
          • Technical assistance with needs assessment and planning, for districts with a significant number or percentage of TSI schools
          • Professional learning network that will include instructional coaching
          • Differentiated monitoring process, based on local needs
          • Targeted resources to support student subgroups

          Criteria for exiting this category

            After two years, schools can exit TSI status by:

            • Achieving higher than a score equivalent to an “F” letter grade for student subgroups and out-of-school suspension rates lower than twice the national average, for two consecutive years

            This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.