This presentation is an update on previous studies out of the St. Mary Parish Public School System in Louisiana. The latest study investigated the changes to the district’s performance on the Louisiana state assessment between 2003, three years before implementation of the Fast ForWord software, and 2011, when over 9,000 St. Mary Parish students district-wide had used Fast ForWord or Reading Assistant software, or both. The data span a period of nine years, from 2003 - 2011.
The Louisiana Educational Assessment Program, abbreviated as LEAP, is part of Louisiana’s criterion-referenced state testing program and is administered to students in the fourth and eighth grades. It measures how well a student has mastered the state content standards in the subjects of English language arts, math, science, and social studies.
This summary shows results achieved by the district on the English Language Arts portion of the LEAP as well as substantial improvements in District Performance Score, a combination a school district’s individual student scores on the LEAP, iLEAP and Graduation Exit Exam as well as attendance and dropout rates, and graduation outcomes. Improvements in other critical district numbers are covered as well.
Fast ForWord was first used in the St. Mary Parish Public School System during the 2006-2007 school year. Since that school year, fourth graders in the district have shown dramatic improvements in their English language arts achievement as measured by the LEAP. In 2008, for the first time in a decade, the district exceeded the state average for the percentage of fourth graders performing at or above the Basic level on the English Language Arts exam. In the five years of Fast ForWord implementation in St. Mary Parish elementary schools, the percentage of fourth graders in the district performing at or above Basic on the initial LEAP English Language Arts test increased from 55% to an impressive 81%.
By the time district-wide implementation was achieved in 2009, the improvements had impacted the district performance such that the District Performance Score exceeded the state baseline. And, in fact, the rise in Performance Score continued between 2006 and 2011, with the district score increasing from 80.0 to 96.7, nearly double the increase of the state baseline score.
In addition, between the years 2006 and 2011 the district increased the promotion rate of both the General Education and the Special Education students. During the same period, the number of students requiring Special Education services decreased by 17%.
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