Education

Louisiana plans to cancel school letter grades

The COVID pandemic has been hard on everyone, especially students. Early in 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, school systems tried to compensate for the stress on students by halting the letter grade systems and only issuing pass or fail grades to students.

According to AP News, education groups have said for months that it made no sense to issue letter grades for the 2020-21 school year amid all the disruptions caused by COVID. 

ULM alumni, Hannah Donaldson, ULM alumni, said that the pandemic lockdown was not only detrimental to the students but also increased the pressure on the teachers.

“With the dismissal of school last year, so many students fell behind,” Donaldson said. “That being said, teachers are having to do double the work to get the students where they need to be by the end of the year testing.”  

Schools are scaled with a performance score based on how well students do on the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) 2025. 

The LEAP 2025 is a statewide assessment for students between grade 3 and high school that measure student knowledge in key courses like English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social science, according to Jefferson Parish Schools.

Once these scores are taken into consideration, they are translated into letter grades for the school. This letter grade lets the community know how much the school is accomplishing. The performance score also determines how much the school gets funded. 

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For the 2020-21 school year, The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education had a vote to cancel performance grades at schools. 

At least 45 other states have had federal approval to cancel the grading system, which is why the federal government is more likely to sign off.

Maice Knighten, a West Ouachita High School senior who plans to attend ULM, said she has noticed that because of the pandemic, many students have gotten lazy in their studies. However, she still works very hard to do well in school. 

If students begin to focus less on doing well in school, school performance scores could drop meaning less funding, which would directly impact student’s education. 

Knighten feels that her schooling should not be impacted because of other’s laziness. 

“It isn’t fair that i should have to suffer the effects of everyone else [even though] I devote time and effort to my schooling,” Knighten said. 

Written by Kylie Cichocki

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