Jul 27, 2018

Pilot in Five School Systems Will Allow Teachers and Students to Focus on Knowledge of Books

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Department of Education today announced the state's proposal to pilot an innovative English assessment is the first to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education under the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority, part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). By measuring students' knowledge of specific books, rather than texts they have not read before, the test aspires to build knowledge of facts and texts in students.

"Research shows students need deep knowledge of a subject in order to effectively read about it," said State Superintendent John White. "Louisiana's pilot offers a unique opportunity to develop assessments that support this research. We are thrilled to be the first state in the nation to receive the authority to explore innovative ways to better assess student achievement."

Louisiana submitted a proposal for the pilot in April 2018 in response to a provision in ESSA by which select states are allowed to develop and pilot new high-quality assessment formats in lieu of the existing statewide achievement tests. Louisiana and New Hampshire were the only states to submit proposals. Louisiana is the first state to earn approval from the federal government. Louisiana now has five years to develop, pilot and expand the innovative assessment.

Key features of Louisiana's innovative assessment pilot include:
  • Combining English and social studies tests to streamline state testing;
  • Measuring what students have learned via passages from books that students have read, rather than passages that they have not read as part of the curriculum;
  • Assessing students through several brief assessments throughout the year, rather than one longer test at the end of the year; and
  • Preserving local control as to which books and which assessments their students will take.
The five initial partner school systems include Ouachita Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, and St. Tammany Parish, as well as KIPP Public Charter Schools and Collegiate Academies in Orleans Parish.

"St. John the Baptist Parish is excited to implement and study streamlined and integrated assessments that truly assess the books students read and the knowledge students build," said St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools Superintendent Kevin George. "This new and innovative approach has great potential to improve learning in literacy within our district and across Louisiana."

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