La. Education Dept.: Disadvantaged students progressing

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Economically disadvantaged students, African-American students, students with disabilities and those who are learning the English language — all four groups showed strong progress in academic achievement this year, according to information released Wednesday by Louisiana's Department of Education.

But the department says progress among those "historically disadvantaged" groups will have to be accelerated to close achievement gaps with their peers.

The data on student progress demonstrates how students in grades four through 12 are progressing toward fully mastering key concepts and skills in English language arts (ELA) and math.

The department says the release is part of the state's commitment to develop a tool to provide a more comprehensive view of school performance, as it works to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The department said about 48 percent of students statewide demonstrated what it called "top growth" in English language arts, while about 43 percent demonstrated top growth in math.

Growth among the historically disadvantaged groups was close to the overall figures, the department's news release said.

"However, because their overall achievement levels are lower, educators must support historically disadvantaged student groups to improve at a faster pace than their peers in order to close achievement gaps," the release said.

The department said systems in Ascension and Lafourche parishes are among the top performing in student progress. In both school systems, more than half of all students, including those who are economically disadvantaged or those with disabilities, demonstrated top growth on English and math assessments.

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