East Baton Rouge school performance dips, Capital Region increases in BRAC report card

Baton Rouge Business Report

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its original publication to clarify that the Louisiana Department of Education is the source of the data used in BRAC’s annual education report card. 

Performance of East Baton Rouge Parish schools declined last year, while the Capital Region improved slightly overall, according to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s latest annual report card on K-12 education, released this morning.

The district performance score for EBR schools fell by nearly 8% compared to last year’s report. The score measures standardized testing, ACT scores and advanced placement performance, among other things. All data used in the report was sourced from the Louisiana Department of Education.

The local decline follows a statewide trend, as Louisiana schools on average dropped 6.5% in this year’s report. EBR schools struggled in large part because they made little to no gains in boosting performance among students who struggle academically, BRAC notes. The report gave EBR a zero out of 10 score for that metric.

BRAC says student mobility—students changing schools in the middle of the school year—drove much of the decline in the score, and the district would have made gains if those students’ progress points were awarded. A state rule prohibits school district rankings from awarding progress points to students who change schools in the middle of the school year.

East Baton Rouge now ranks 58th out of the state’s 70 school districts, a drop from its No. 45 ranking in 2015. It’s overall grade remains a C.

Overall, the Capital Region made gains academically. Zachary remains the highest-rated school district in the state, while Central, Livingston, Ascension and West Feliciana are also in the top 10. All made gains from 2015 to 2016, according to the report.

Charter schools in the region improved last year, but still lag behind traditional public schools in performance, BRAC says. EBR charter schools in the state-run Recovery School District drove most of the improvement for charters, but overall EBR charter schools still have a D grade.

In all, 43% of EBR schools students attend a school graded a D or F, while 31% are in an A or B school. In the Capital Region, 20% of students attend a D or F school.

The three best EBR public schools in the ranking are: Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Westdale Heights Academic and Sherwood Middle Academic. Northdale Superintendent’s Academy, Louisiana Key Academy and AMIkids Baton Rouge are the three worst schools in the region, according to the report.

EBR public school students also lag by roughly 10 percentage points behind the statewide graduation rate, with 67% of local students graduating from high school.

“The 2016 public school accountability data is promising, as it shows that most districts in the Capital Region have recovered from the dip in student achievement caused by more difficult grade and subject-level standards going into effect in 2015,” BRAC concludes in its report. “This indicates that students and teachers have successfully adapted to these higher standards.”

Read the full report.

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