BESE affirms approval of policy establishing appeals process for LEAP scoring graduation requirement

Oct 20, 2023, 09:15 AM by BESE Admin

UPDATE: Gov. Landry vetoed the appeals process policy via Executive Order JML 24-01 on January 8, 2024.

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On October 11, 2023, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) reapproved its policy establishing an appeals process for qualifying high school seniors who do not meet the state’s LEAP test scoring requirement for graduation.

Originally passed by the Board on June 14, the policy is advancing in the state’s Notice of Intent process, through which rulemaking entities such as BESE submit proposed policies to the public, oversight committees, and Governor for review prior to adoption as final rule. Last week’s BESE action reaffirming the policy approval followed a public comment period and a public hearing conducted by the Board on August 25.

On October 11, in compliance with the Louisiana Administrative Procedures Act, BESE submitted a summary report of public comments and agency responses (SPCAR) to the House and Senate Education Committees. The House Education Committee has scheduled an oversight hearing for October 26, 2023, to review the policy.

If the appeals process policy receives a favorable ruling by the oversight committee, BESE may submit the policy to the Louisiana Register for final adoption as rule. If an unfavorable ruling is received, the oversight committee must send its report to the Governor for review within four days of its hearing. The Governor would then have 10 days from receipt to approve or disapprove the unfavorable report. If the Governor approves the report, the policy will not advance to final rule. If the Governor disapproves the report, BESE may proceed to final adoption.

The earliest date that the appeals process policy may become final rule is November 20, 2023.

Of the eight states that still require minimum standardized test scores for graduation, only Louisiana has not offered students an appeals process for that requirement. The new policy provides an appeal option for seniors who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills sufficient to graduate, but struggle with difficulties related to standardized assessments, such as English Language learners and students with other learning challenges. Among other requirements, eligible students must complete all Carnegie unit requirements for the TOPS University or TOPS Tech Career Diploma, submit a portfolio of work aligned to LEAP 2025 standards, and demonstrate evidence of employability. Appeals will be administered at the local school level, and students would still be required to take the LEAP assessment.

BESE has directed the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to develop implementation guidance for local school systems.

More information about the appeals process is available in the June 14, 2023 BESE news release here:

The complete policy is available for viewing online at

The October BESE meeting agenda item and related materials, including public comments, BESE and Louisiana Department of Education agency responses, and mockup implementation procedures may viewed here:

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For more information, contact:
Kevin Calbert

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.