Analysis of Spring 2010 Test Results

Student performance continues to rise!

The recently released 2010 Test Scores are great news for New Orleans. Across the city, student achievement continues to improve.

  • For the third year in a row, more students passed the high-stakes LEAP tests.
  • Significantly more students met the state proficiency goal of Basic or above.
    • The Recovery School District (RSD) is #1 in the state in increasing the percentage of students scoring Basic or above. The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) is tied for 4th highest.
  • In cumulative gains (over three years), the RSD is again #1, and OPSB tied with one other district for 3rd highest gains.

Louisiana tests four subjects in grades 3 through 11: English, math, science and social studies. In a year when the state had minimal academic growth, New Orleans improved in every grade.

Our analysis includes all schools under the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District, both traditional and charter. What most folks want to know is not who is governing the schools, but are our schools getting better? And the answer is a resounding yes! – and in transformational ways.

More Students Are Passing LEAP

To pass the LEAP test, students need to perform Basic in English or math and Approaching Basic in the other part. 

First-time test takers in both 4th and 8th grade showed impressive gains, especially when compared to the state average:
  • 4th Grade:  New Orleans improved its passing rate 2 percentage points, compared to a 1 point drop statewide.
  • 8th Grade:  New Orleans improved 6 percentage points, compared to a 2 point drop statewide.

Percent of New Orleans students meeting the Promotional Standard

Impact of Three Years of Continuous Growth

The cumulative gains are truly astounding.

Improvement in passing rate of high stakes LEAP test













New Orleans Gains Compared to the State

4th Grade

2007 – – – – – – – – – – >2010

New Orleans

16 pt


4 pt


8th Grade

2007 – – – – – – – >2010

New Orleans

14 pt


2 pt

More Students are Meeting Louisiana’s Proficiency Goal of Basic or Above

Louisiana’s goal is for all students not merely to pass the tests, but to achieve at least Basic or above in all subjects. Basic is considered “grade level” performance. Again, New Orleans showed significant gains.

  • In 2010, the RSD ranked #1 statewide in gains in the percent of students Basic or above across all tests (grades 3-11) and all subjects (English, math, science and social studies).
  • OPSB tied with four other districts for the 4th highest gains in the state.

The cumulative gains are even more impressive.

The RSD is still ranked #1, and OPSB is tied with one other district for the 3rd highest improvement in the net increase in the percent of students performing Basic or above across all tests and all subjects.

2007 – – – – – – – – – – – – – >2010


20 pts


14 pts


5 pts

2010 LEAP Highlights

  • 4th Grade:  Although New Orleans went down 3 points in English, compared to a 4 point drop statewide, our 4th graders soared in math with a 10 point gain, compared to a 5 point gain statewide.
  • 8th Grade:  New Orleans gained another 3 percentage points in English and 6 percentage points in math. The state average dropped 1 point in both subjects.
Percent of 4th and 8th Graders at Basic or Above (all test takers)

High School GEE

On the Graduation Exit Exam (GEE), New Orleans grew more than the state in all subjects and soared in science and social studies.

  • In English, New Orleans grew 4 percentage points; the state grew 2.
  • In Math, New Orleans grew 2 percentage points; the state grew 0.
  • In Science, New Orleans grew 8 points! The state grew 0.
  • In Social Studies, New Orleans grew 10 points! The state grew 0.

Percent of 10th and 11th graders at Basic or above (1st-time test takers):


I have been asked repeatedly if the gains in test scores are due to a change in demographics since Katrina. The answer is no.

While there are fewer students, the demographic profile is the same:

  • The percentage of minority students is not significantly different than pre-Katrina.
  • The percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch has increased since Katrina.

New Orleans Public Schools



Number of Students



African American Students



Students Receiving Free/Reduced Lunch



Transformation Taking Place

Opponents of the reforms have argued that the gains made since Katrina are merely a continuation of the improvement happening before the state action. They are not.

The rate of growth the last three years is really groundbreaking. In the past, New Orleans improvement mirrored the state. If the state showed growth, New Orleans matched it.  If the state went down, so did New Orleans. Since 2005, New Orleans is improving much faster than the state and narrowing the performance gap.

These two graphs show how since 2005 New Orleans has narrowed the gap and is catching up to the state.

Gains in the percent of students scoring Basic or above

Educate Now! salutes all of the educators, nonprofits, volunteer charter board members, and so many others for their commitment and tremendous work over the past 4 years that have resulted in these gains.

The changes underway and the improvement in student learning are meaningful – to the city, to schools, and more importantly to parents and students.

But we are not there yet. We need to continue to raise our expectations; stay focused on student achievement; hold all schools accountable for their results; and continue to work toward providing every child with the educational opportunities they deserve.

Educate Now!
Leslie Jacobs

To view the state district and school level reports, visit the Department of Education website:

LEAP Resuts by District and by School
GEE Results by District and by School
iLEAP Results by District and by School