The 4th graders at Alpha Elementary are getting ready this morning for another jolt of failure. In 2000 when I started my research there, 70% of 4th graders were held back for not passing the LEAP. This year only 35% of them will fail. Quite a leap, yes. After 7 years of non-stop testing, Alpha's school performance score hovers near 75, which makes them a 1-Star school in a 2-Star state.
What will Alpha need to do by 2014, along with the rest of the public schools in the State? They must reach 120. COL! (crying out loud). What my research has shown without question is that this kind of labeling could have been accomplished without all the expense of testing. These failure lists could have been just as easily generated by checking family income and the free and reduced-price lunch rolls. But then that would not have personalized the failure that only individual testing can accomplish for the brown, the black, and the other poor. From a state press release carried by KFOL:
School districts in Louisiana are also given DPS labels or “Stars” annually, indicating their level of performances. The chart below defines each label.
Label DPS Ranges
Five Stars 140.0 and above
Four Stars 120.0 – 139.9
Three Stars 100.0 – 119.9
Two Stars 80.0 – 99.9
One Star 60.0 – 79.9
Academically Unacceptable Below 60.0
Overall, the state received a label of Two Stars.