BESE asks federal government to waive letter grades for students

(WMC Action News 5)
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 2:47 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - On Monday, Oct. 11, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) announced they are asking the federal government to waiver letter grades for school performance that usually come out in November.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on students. The board said their decision was made due to students not having a fair chance to succeed during the pandemic.

Chief Academic Officer Keith Burton said he’s on board with this decision.

“If we really look at the root cause and the purpose behind a lot of the testing, it is really to see growth but we’ve got to be able to step back and say, looking through the lens of COVID, ‘what has that done for students and should we use the same scale?’” he said.

Back in August, reports show Louisiana test scores dropped by five percentage points on tests such as LEAP 2025.

Webster Parish Superintendent Johnny Rowland said he thinks it would have been unfair to hold students accountable during this time.

“The school performance scores and district performance scores that are going to be used for this year will be the scores that are from 2019, which was the last normal school year,” he explained.

In Caddo, Burton said students will still test this school year.

“We still will have testing all the way from third grade to 12th grade, and we’ll still give kindergarten through second grade assessments throughout just to make sure,” he said,

Louisiana is among many other states to ask the federal government for a waiver.

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