Wednesday, August 8, 2007

High-stakes Testing (LEAP)

The Louisiana NAACP has recently launched an initiative to call attention to the harmful effects of the LEAP test in this state. LEAP is administered in the 4Th and 8Th grades and students are retained if they do not pass the test.

The NAACP argues this test is not legal.

State NAACP president Ernest L. Johnson continues to press the issue with a letter to the editor that appeared in The Times on August 9, 2007. Mr. Johnson points out that "As a direct result of this unlawful use this year, more than 28,000 fourth and eighth-grade students in our public schools were recorded as failing the test. Please keep in mind that most of these students pass their regular courses. Some are honor students, and some even have a 4.0 grade-point average."

According to Louisiana information on accountability, "Schools containing grade levels kindergarten through eighth (K-8) entered into the accountability system in 1998-99. Schools with grades 9-12 entered the accountability system in 2000-01.

The 9-12 portions of schools with K-12 grade structures also entered the system in 2000-01."

It is interesting to note the trends in grade retentions since accountability.

Some studies suggest that being retained even once between the first and eighth grades makes a student four times more likely to drop out.

Retentions have probably contributed to a significant increase in the number of over-age students in the system.

It is past time for us to rethink high-stakes testing. Studies should be conducted to better understand the impact this is having on our children.

This appears to be one of those situations where the cure is worst than the disease.

What do you think?

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