The Louisiana Department of Education today released each district’s ACT scores and Vermilion Parish’s average score is above the state average. In 2016, the state’s average composite score for public school students increased 0.1 points, from 19.4 in 2015 to 19.5 in 2016. In 2016, Vermilion Parish’s average ACT score is 19.7, which is .2 more than the state average. Vermilion’s ACT score ranks in the top 20 in the state. Vermilion Parish’s ACT score ranks No. 2 in Acadiana, behind Lafayette Parish (19.9). Other local district scores are: Acadia Parish (18.9), Cameron Parish (19.4), Frankin Parish (17), Iberia Parish (19) and St. Martin Parish (17.6). Statewide, economically disadvantaged students increased 0.2 points from 17.9 in 2015 to 18.1 in 2016, doubling the state growth of 0.1, and have increased 0.5 points since 2013. African-American students have likewise narrowed pernicious achievement gaps since 2012, closing the gap with their peers by 0.3 points. In 2012, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted policy to give all high school students access to the ACT free of charge, as part of a comprehensive package to increase access to college and a career for high school students. Louisiana became the 10th state to expand ACT access to all students in 2013. Since that year, the state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of seniors earning qualifying scores for TOPS Tech (17+), TOPS Opportunity (20+), and TOPS Honors (27+), boosting both students on the TOPS University pathway and the Jump Start TOPS Tech pathway. The number of seniors earning a TOPSqualifying score (based on their best score) of at least 17, has increased by 3,278 since 2013 and by 7,885 since 2012. In addition to providing all students with access to the ACT, the Department, BESE, and schools across the state have embarked on ambitious initiatives that have expanded opportunities for high school student. Since 2012:

  • BESE adopted higher expectations through the Louisiana Student Standards.
  • The Department leads an online review of instructional materials to determine the degree of alignment with the Louisiana Student Standards to support districts with curriculum decisions.
  • The state re-made the high school accountability system to incentivize not just high school completion but also post-secondary achievements like career credentials and Advanced Placement credits.
  • Students now achieve TOPS and TOPS Tech by choosing either the Jump Start Career Diploma or the TOPS University Diploma. Every student graduates having taken a TOPS curriculum.
  • To support these diplomas, Louisiana has created dedicated funding streams in the MFP for career courses, dual enrollment courses, and other course choices.
  • Through Believe and Prepare, the state’s most successful teachers serve as mentors and train aspiring teachers, preparing them to enter the classroom ready to teach from day one.
  • Louisiana has also expanded on these initiatives to increase opportunity for historically underserved students.
  • Schools have created transitional 9th grade programs to serve students who otherwise would have been held back in 8th grade.
  • Act 833 allows diploma pathways for students struggling because of disabilities. ªStudents with signifi cant disabilities (LAA 1) now can achieve a high school diploma. Through Dual Enrollment in 2015, 6,260 seniors graduated with college credit, representing 15,427 credits earned. Based on the College Board report, Trends in College Pricing, at an average rate of $243.80 per credit hour, the total potential cost savings for the 2015 graduates and families was approximately $12,188,902.

Published in the Abbeville Meridional 7/26/16