Education News in Brief

New Orleans’ School Scores Up Since Storm

By Lesli A. Maxwell — November 17, 2008 1 min read

Student achievement is improving in New Orleans, even as most of the schools operated by the state-run Recovery School District remain among the lowest-performing in Louisiana.

In the most complete picture yet of how well New Orleans’ public schools are performing since Hurricane Katrina, new state-assigned school performance scores show that 10 open-admission charters and two RSD schools had a score of 60 or higher on a scale of 180—enough to shed the label of “academically unacceptable.”

Last year, none of the schools run by the state scored higher than 48.6 on an assessment index that measured only test results, according to a news release from the Recovery School District. That district took over all the city schools deemed “academically unacceptable” based on their performance scores before the hurricane struck in August 2005.

“While we are very pleased with the improvement we experienced this year, we are still nowhere near where we should be,” Paul G. Vallas, the superintendent of the district, said last week in a statement.

Many of the schools with the highest scores in the city are charters that use some type of admissions criteria.

The performance scores represent two years of data from the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program, the high-stakes tests taken each spring by 4th and 8th graders, and the Graduate Exit Exam, taken by high school students. A school’s performance score also factors in student-attendance records, dropout data, and graduation rates for high schools.

Louisiana began issuing school performance scores 10 years ago. This year marks the first time since Katrina that schools in storm-affected parishes are receiving performance scores.

Schools that opened in 2007-08 will receive the score next year.

A version of this article appeared in the November 19, 2008 edition of Education Week