The recently released School Performance Scores give us the first clear picture of how schools in New Orleans are performing since Katrina.
Student test scores are used for three different measurements: student performance, school performance, and district performance. In May, the state releases the test scores and gives information on individual student performance: how many passed the LEAP test, did scores go up, etc. This month, the state issued both School and District Performance Scores.
School Performance Scores (SPS) analyze the test data at the school level allowing us to compare one school’s performance to another. A District Performance Score takes the student test data for all students in the district to evaluate district performance.
For a listing of schools and scores go to: School Scores
So How Do We Compare Post-Katrina?
Schools are better
Fewer are failing. The percentage of schools that are one star or higher (non-failing) has increased from 34% to 55%.
Cause for Hope
Four K- 8 charter schools in the RSD have demonstrated that we can successfully educate poor and minority youth. Phillips KIPP Believe, McDonogh 15 KIPP, and Behrman Charter School have scores above 90, and along with Dr. MLK Charter School (89.2), will be 4 of the top performing, non-selective admission schools in the state educating poor and minority youth. These top performing schools prove it can be done. Our challenge is to do it.
We’ve made significant gains since 2005
Pre-Katrina, New Orleans ranked last in the state with a District Performance Score of 56.9 compared to a state average of 87.4. In 2008, combining all students and schools in the city, New Orleans’ effective District Performance Score rose to 66.4 while the state actually dropped to 87.2. We grew nearly 10 points, while the state was flat.
Charters outperformed traditionally operated schools
Of the top 15 schools citywide, 13 were chartered, 2 were traditional. Of the bottom performing 15 schools, 10 were traditional, and only 5 were chartered.
High Schools need work
New Orleans had the highest performing school in the state, Benjamin Franklin High School, with a score of 165.2. We also had the lowest scoring school in the state, Douglass High School, with a score of 16.3.
While the selective admission high schools–like Franklin and Lusher–did very well, our challenge is to have quality schools for all students.Our open admission high schools are lagging behind the open admission K-8 schools in both performance and growth.
The five open admission RSD-operated high schools are the lowest performing high schools in the state, and showed little improvement from 2007 with scores ranging from 16.3 (Douglass) to 30 (Reed). All OPSB-operated high schools are selective admission.
The five open admission charter high schools did better, ranging from 48.6 (O Perry Walker) to 77 (Karr), but their scores still lag behind K-8.
When you factor in Katrina-related stresses and challenges–not the least of which include many students missing a year of school or dealing with unresolved mental health issues–the results of School Performance Scores for New Orleans are impressive. But let’s not lose sight that much work remains. Too many schools are still underperforming and our focus must be on continued improvement.
We have an opportunity to transform not just our schools, but the lives of students, and the future of our city through the education of our children. It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.
At Educate Now!, we are firmly committed to making the education reform underway effective and sustainable.