LEAP tests tosses wrench into educational system

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2000

As if educating Johnny wasn’t difficult enough, the confusion over the implementation of the LEAP test has cast a huge wrench into the educational machine.

While students have already begun to head back to class in Mississippi, Louisiana’s school administrators are spending the next two weeks going through the unenviable task of interpreting what to do in the wake of LEAP tests — and retests.

The standardized tests are intended to help give educational experts and school administrators an a better measuring stick. LEAP is supposed to help us all judge how well the state’s students match up nationally and whether or not they’re learning what we’re teaching.

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LEAP was — and is — a good idea.

But the Louisiana Department of Education has turned the entire implementation process into — as an area educator recently said — a big &uot;mess.&uot;

Initially the state said any student who failed a portion of the test would have to pass both sections of the test to advance to the next grade. Later they went back and have slowly tossed much of the decision-making back to the local school districts.

Now the decision over where to place the students who failed sections of the LEAP test has landed squarely in the laps of the local districts.

So rather than spending this week preparing for the upcoming school year as usual, Concordia Parish School administrators — as well as those all across Louisiana — have to spend their time being judge and jury for the dozens of students held in limbo by LEAP.

Our hearts go out to the local school administrators who have to cope with the situation and to the students and parents left wondering.

Hopefully we’ll be able to remove quickly the wrench from the system and move on to educating our children.