Nov 07, 2017

Early Childhood Performance Profiles, School Report Cards Now Available in Louisiana School Finder

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education today released a comprehensive online reporting system detailing how well child care centers and schools statewide are preparing students, birth through grade 12, for the next grade level and beyond. The interactive system, called the Louisiana School Finder, details the first-ever early childhood performance profiles and the annual school performance scores, among other information valuable to families. It is the first of its kind in the nation.

"It is a great step forward for our state to report on the good work going on in early childhood centers alongside their counterparts in K-12 systems," said State Superintendent John White. "This effort supports the most fundamental purpose of the state's rating system: to use the power of information to focus all involved on student learning. We encourage families, educators, business and community leaders, and partners to continue to engage in this new system and to inform its evolution. Our collective dialogue about education is grounded in a shared understanding of both successes of the past and challenges ahead."

Early Childhood Performance Profiles
For the first time, Louisiana today released performance data on all publicly funded early childhood programs, including early childhood centers, Head Start and prekindergarten.

In 2015, the state launched a unified rating system to:

  • measure core elements needed for positive child outcomes;
  • provide a clear and focused path to improvement; and
  • give families an easy way to compare choices in their community.

The unified rating system has two components: ratings that relate to positive child outcomes, such as teacher-child interactions and instruction, and information on classroom best practices, like credentialing teachers and using top-tier curriculum. Those two components are featured on the site's performance profile. The overall performance rating, which is based on observations, is reported in four categories: Excellent, Proficient, Approaching Proficient and Unsatisfactory. Practice profiles were released in 2015-2016 to prepare for the official launch in 2016-2017.

The 2016-2017 early childhood performance profiles indicate:

  • All program types improved their average performance scores. Of the roughly 1,500 early childhood centers, Head Start programs and prekindergarten sites to receive performance profiles in 2016-2017, nearly 70 percent provided children with care and instruction at levels that research shows promote kindergarten readiness. That is an improvement from last year, when about 60 percent of sites did. What's more: There is at least one Excellent-rated site in more than a third of the state's 65 community networks.
  • Statewide average scores improved in all measured areas. Louisiana early childhood sites saw improvements across the board, from classroom climate to organization to instruction, at both the prekindergarten and toddler levels. The increase can be attributed, in part, to better aligned resources and strong professional development.
  • More early childhood program classrooms are embracing best practices. Louisiana has seen a significant increase in the number of sites using a high-quality curriculum, from 48 percent in 2015-2016 to 77 percent in 2016-2017. In addition, more child care teachers are certified to teach than ever before.

K-12 Annual School Performance Scores

Each year, every public school in Louisiana receives a school performance score. The school performance score is reported on a scale from zero to 150 and communicates how well Louisiana schools are preparing students for the next grade level through student performance metrics, such as state assessment results, graduation rates and college credit attainment.

Louisiana students are performing at higher levels than ever before:

  • Fourth grade students achieved the highest growth in the nation in reading and the second highest in math on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • The percent of students scoring Mastery and above on LEAP English language arts and math tests has increased 13 percent since 2013.
  • Louisiana's ACT composite score has grown most of any southern state since 2014 and ranks 10th among states that test all students.
  • More students graduated in 2016 than ever before.
  • The number of students earning AP credit each year has increased 137 percent since 2012.

The 2016-2017 school performance scores show the distribution of school performance scores has remained steady for the third consecutive year. For elementary and middle schools, the steady distribution is a result of the state's "curve" transition policy. The policy, started in 2014 and now in its final year, ensured the distribution of schools could improve, but could not fall below the 2013 distribution of schools, as the state raised academic expectations.

In addition, 272 schools statewide received "D" or "F" grades for three consecutive years or saw a high school graduation rate less than 67 percent, and thus require "comprehensive intervention." The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires the Department to identify these persistently struggling schools and award school improvement dollars to school systems with strong, evidence-based plans for improving those sites.

Louisiana School Finder

The early childhood performance profiles and the K-12 school performance scores are reported this year through the new Louisiana School Finder, an interactive, comprehensive online reporting system. The Louisiana School Finder, unveiled today after more than a year of public discussion and planning, provides families with:

  • school performance scores and early childhood performance ratings to show how well schools and centers are preparing students for the next grade-level;
  • basic information about schools and centers such as their address, website, hours of operation, and principal or director's name; and
  • listings of course offerings, clubs, enrichment and extracurricular activities.

"The Louisiana School Finder will be a valuable tool available to parents, community members and those looking to locate information and data on success indicators on all schools," said Sonny Savoie, President of the Louisiana PTA. "This information will enable parents to make informed choices relative to the schools that will provide their children with the greatest opportunity for a successful education."

Louisiana is a leader in offering this breadth of school information to families, said Paige Kowalski, Executive Vice President of Data Quality Campaign, a national advocacy group focused on the effective use of data in education.

"Louisiana's redesigned report card is much more than a visual update," Kowalski said. "Through intentional stakeholder engagement and thoughtful consideration of what to report and how to report it, Louisiana has developed a resource that pushes beyond compliance to provide families with a fuller picture of school quality in their communities."

Accountability in the Era of ESSA

Moving forward, as outlined in its approved state ESSA plan, Louisiana will continue to raise the bar for students so that by 2025, an A-rated school is one where the average student has fully mastered core content, is ready for the next level of study, and accesses the same opportunities as their peers across the country.

"Reaching this bar will require continued collaboration between the state and local school systems  to create and implement strong plans to meet the challenge," said Dr. Gary Jones, President of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. "As we move ahead, it will be increasingly important to provide greater support to schools that are struggling and reward those that are successful. Louisiana students and educators have made great strides, and we must continue to build on these successes. The future is bright."

# # #

To access the Louisiana School Finder, click here.

To access information and resources on how to use the Louisiana School Finder, click here.

To access 2016-2017 early childhood and school performance results, click here, or below.

2016-2017 ECE Site and Network Performance Profiles

2017 School Performance Score Summary

2017 District Performance Score Summary

2017 State Performance Summary