June 04, 2008
Rachel Allemand, assistant superintendent of Louisiana's St. Charles Parish, said, "What we've done is each day, to assign a student an effort score." Thusly she explained a new parish policy, encouraged by the state, that permits any eighth grader who fails Louisiana's LEAP exam, enrolls in remedial summer school, and then does even worse on his subsequent testing attempt to be promoted to ninth grade nonetheless. Previously, the New Orleans Times Picayune reports, "students whose scores dropped... were not allowed to go to the ninth grade." That rule sought to ensure that pupils took summer school seriously. But this year, Allemand said, the state education board "realized that wasn't fair." Louisiana's state board possesses a unique definition of fairness. To expect pupils to be prepared for ninth grade before they enter it; to give them multiple chances to demonstrate such preparedness; and to hold them in middle school only if they demonstrate that, after remediation, their level of preparedness has decreased--well, that seems more than fair. Nevertheless, the state board's aversion to high standards has condemned St. Charles Parish eighth graders to be treated like babies and given credit for effort, not results. The real world, of course, works differently.
"Students get new chance on LEAP" by Sandra Barbier, New Orleans Times Picayune, May 31, 2008