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BESE approves score ranges, achievement levels for state tests

Action upholds high academic expectations, ensures comparability with other states

October 14, 2015

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved “cut scores” (Scaled Score Ranges) and corresponding achievement levels for the 2014-15 Louisiana standardized tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics at its October 13, 2015, regular meeting.

In spring 2015, Louisiana students in grades three through eight participated in English and math assessments aligned to Louisiana academic content standards. “Cut scores” are the numeric scores that define certain student proficiency levels on the tests. The score ranges approved by the Board have been adopted by other states taking part in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, allowing for accurate comparison of Louisiana students’ performance with those in other states.

“Today's action keeps the academic bar high in order to give our kids the best chance to compete,” said Chas Roemer, BESE president. “Throughout Louisiana’s transition process to higher standards, this Board has been consistent in its commitment to afford our students a level playing field. For the first time, our state will be able to make a direct comparison to other states regarding student achievement in grades three through eight. Louisiana has decided to compete.”

Per state law (R.S. 17:24.4), beginning with 2014-2015 school year, standards based assessments implemented by BESE in ELA and Math must be based on nationally recognized content standards, and rigorous student achievement standards shall be set with reference to test scores of the same grade levels nationally. Also, per state law, BESE must establish by rule, adopted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, the adequate test score to determine successful performance of the student on ELA and mathematics assessments.

The cut scores represent student performance at 5 levels, like the LEAP test (Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic, and Unsatisfactory), and the policy approved today is the culmination of years of work from many of Louisiana’s education stakeholders. The Education Leader Cadre and the Louisiana Department of Education have worked for over two years to create assessment questions aligned to Louisiana standards, which are shared with other states. Educators then confirmed the skills required by the standards in order for students to be prepared for the next grade, and assigned a level from 1-5 (basic, mastery, etc.) for performance on each task. Test makers tallied raw scores and then established conversions to scale scores. Scales ensure reporting across varying forms, grades and years. The cut scores—identical to those used in other states—represent the position on the scale at which students typically demonstrated a certain proficiency level on test tasks.

The adoption of cut scores and achievement levels for the 2014-15 assessments is another component in the ongoing transition from Basic to Mastery as the new testing achievement goal in Louisiana. By 2025, the benchmark academic expectation for an average student in A-rated schools will have increased from Basic to Mastery level on state tests, bringing Louisiana’s testing proficiency expectations into alignment with those of other states.

The Board also approved the policy measure as an Emergency Rule, making the provisions effective October 13, 2015, for a period of 120 days. This allows for the expedited release of test results by the Louisiana Department of Education to schools and parents while the policy progresses through the normal Notice of Intent process.

APPROVED SCORE RANGES AND ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS

Third Grade

Math Scale Score Range

ELA Scale Score Range

Performance Level

Achievement Level

790-850

810-850

5

Advanced

750-789

750-809

4

Mastery

725-749

725-749

3

Basic

700-724

700-724

2

Approaching Basic

650-699

650-699

1

Unsatisfactory


Fourth Grade

Math Scale Score Range

ELA Scale Score Range

Performance Level

Achievement Level

796-850

790-850

5

Advanced

750-795

750-789

4

Mastery

725-749

725-749

3

Basic

700-724

700-724

2

Approaching Basic

650-699

650-699

1

Unsatisfactory


Fifth Grade

Math Scale Score Range

ELA Scale Score Range

Performance Level

Achievement Level

790-850

799-850

5

Advanced

750-789

750-798

4

Mastery

725-749

725-749

3

Basic

700-724

700-724

2

Approaching Basic

650-699

650-699

1

Unsatisfactory


Sixth Grade

Math Scale Score Range

ELA Scale Score Range

Performance Level

Achievement Level

788-850

790-850

5

Advanced

750-787

750-789

4

Mastery

725-749

725-749

3

Basic

700-724

700-724

2

Approaching Basic

650-699

650-699

1

Unsatisfactory


Seventh Grade

Math Scale Score Range

ELA Scale Score Range

Performance Level

Achievement Level

786-850

785-850

5

Advanced

750-785

750-784

4

Mastery

725-749

725-749

3

Basic

700-724

700-724

2

Approaching Basic

650-699

650-699

1

Unsatisfactory


Eighth Grade

Math Scale Score Range

ELA Scale Score Range

Performance Level

Achievement Level

801-850

794-850

5

Advanced

750-800

750-793

4

Mastery

725-749

725-749

3

Basic

700-724

700-724

2

Approaching Basic

650-699

650-699

1

Unsatisfactory


Contact:
Kevin Calbert, Communications Manager
(225) 342-5847  |  kevin.calbert@la.gov


BESE is the administrative policymaking body for elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana. The Board sets key education initiatives and works to outline an education agenda to achieve continuous improvement of public education as measured by student and school achievement.