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JPPSS Continues to Raise the Bar for College and Career Readiness with Gains on 2014 High School Assessments

12801496333_1f5da68065_zNewly released 2014 high school test scores demonstrate that Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) continues to raise the bar for college and career readiness.  Students have shown progress as evidenced by the results on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, End of Course (EOC) assessments, and the American College Test (ACT).

“We have experienced strong growth this year,” said Michelle Blouin-Williams, Chief Academic Officer for the Jefferson Parish Public School System. “By making college and career readiness a priority we have increased our AP course offerings, exposing more students to college level instruction.  JPPSS is seeing a higher percentage of student proficiency on EOC assessments as well as an increase in the number of students with ACT composite scores of 18 or above.”

According to data provided by the AP College Board, JPPSS students took significantly more AP exams in the 2013-2014 school year, an increase from 965 to 1,557 exams. While 60 percent more exams were administered, the percent of qualifying scores, those scoring 3 and above remained the same at 27 percent.  In the 2013-2014 school year JPPSS launched an AP initiative that yielded an increase in course offerings.  JPPSS offered 74 advanced placement courses with an enrollment of 1,076 students.

“The AP initiative greatly impacted our high school students and changed perceptions of who ‘should’ take AP courses,” said Blouin-Williams. “During this foundational year we are ecstatic with the increased number of courses offered and exams taken.  We know from research that exposure to AP has value to students regardless of their exam score. We also know that students who take AP exams experience benefits in college outcomes as well as study skills and habits. In order to increase AP offerings, teachers received comprehensive training and submitted their teaching plans for approval by the AP College Board.  After teachers planned rigorous courses, they supported student learning throughout the year, offering extended study sessions on Saturdays and after school. This initiative had an impact on teacher practice and student learning,” said Blouin-Williams.

Overall EOC scores improved and JPPSS students outpaced statewide growth on four of six tests.

  • JPPSS student EOC proficiency (Good or Excellent) on all tests increased from 55 percent (2012-2013) to 60 percent (2013-2014).
  • In U.S. History, JPPSS proficiency increased dramatically from 51 percent (2012-2013) to 64 percent (2013-2014), outpacing state growth on this test.
  • In Algebra I, JPPSS proficiency increased from 53 percent (2012-2013) to 59 percent (2013-2014), outpacing state growth on this test.
  • In Geometry, JPPSS proficiency increased from 49 percent (2012-2013) to 53 percent (2013-2014), outpacing state growth on this test.
  • In Biology, JPPSS proficiency increased from 52 percent (2012-2013) to 57 percent (2013-2014).
  • In English III, JPPSS proficiency increased from 55 percent (2012-2013) to 57 percent (2013-2014).

“We are very proud of the efforts of our teachers and celebrate these results with them. Our teachers are dedicated life-long learners and that is evident in student achievement. The teachers of the EOC courses are to be congratulated as well as those who teach pre-requisite courses and skills. This year’s Algebra scores reflect the hard work of Algebra teachers as well as last year’s middle school teachers who implemented the Common Core State Standards. Our high school teachers and leaders continue to be innovative in meeting student needs as the rigor increases,” said Blouin-Williams.

More students demonstrated their college readiness on the ACT in 2013-2014 compared to the previous year. The first year that the ACT became the statewide assessment for high schools in Louisiana was 2012- 2013.  In JPPSS, the number of 12th grade students whose composite score was 18 or above on the ACT increased from 53.1 percent (of 2408 test takers in 2012-2013) to 55.6 percent (of 2540 test takers in 2013-2014). This means more students have the opportunity to attend four-year and two-year colleges without the requirement of remedial coursework.  Not only did the overall number of seniors scoring above 18 increases, JPPSS seniors’ composite scores increased at each performance interval: those scoring above 20, 23, 25, and 27.  “More JPPSS students have earned scores that will give them access to the colleges of their choice and multiple scholarship opportunities including TOPS. We saw increases in student ACT composite scores at all levels of readiness,” said Blouin-Williams.

AP, EOC, and ACT data show that JPPSS is making strides in college and career readiness.

“We know that these are indicators of student success and that in the real-world this translates to more opportunities for the students and families of Jefferson Parish,” said Blouin-Williams.