Schools: LEAP ran smoothly

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – School officials said Friday that this week’s standardized testing appeared to run smoothly in Concordia Parish.

&uot;Reports from the schools are that everything went well,&uot; said Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman.

And that is important, especially in the case of the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program test, which 352 parish fourth-graders and 377 eighth-graders took Monday through Friday mornings.

Vidalia Junior High Principal Fred Marsalis said his students thought they performed well on the test.

&uot;All of our kids were positive – very positive (about it).&uot; Fred Marsalis said.

With all the focus on the LEAP test this year, this week has actually been like performing the final act of a play, Marsalis said.

&uot;It’s a stressful week on teachers and students and everyone, Marsalis said.

Ferriday Junior High counselor Barbara Rutland said her students also were pleased with this week’s testing.

&uot;They felt they did a good job,&uot; Rutland said.

At first students seemed nervous, but after the first day they seemed to be more at ease with the test, Rutland said.

Vidalia Upper Elementary Principal Ross Dyer said the test generates stress for teachers and students and staff but his students also felt good about it.

&uot;We hope we did as well as we think we did,&uot; Dyer said.

Students who fail the LEAP’s English and math sections now and during a July retest, but still pass their classes, will pass to the next grade. But they will have to take transitional classes in the LEAP sections they failed.

Eventually, schools that don’t measure up on the LEAP test, the Iowa Test and student attendance rates could lose state funding or see students transfer elsewhere.

&uot;So it’s not just important for the students themselves, but it’s also important for the schools. … LEAP scores have the single biggest effect&uot; on accountability scores handed down by the state, Peterman said.

Third, fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth grades – 1,810 students – took the Iowa Test, a national achievement test, this week. And 231 10th-graders took the Graduate Exit Exam, which they must pass now or in four later retests to graduate.

Results of the LEAP and Iowa tests and Graduate Exit Exams should be received by the district by mid-May.

With the test behind them, students and teachers must now shift gears into &uot;the wait and see mode,&uot; Marsalis said.

With the testing over, the problem now is waiting for those test results.

&uot;You know how it is when you’re waiting,&uot; Rutland said.