Monday, August 02, 2010

Test scores drop after Louisiana district adopts four-day school week

The four-day school week, an idea that seems to be gaining traction among some rural school districts, may be adversely affecting one Louisiana district where test scores have dropped since the policy's adoption. A comparison of Caldwell Parish Schools fourth-grade standardized test scores from 2007, the year before the district adopted a four-day week, and scores from 2010 shows students' scores dropped in three out of four subject areas, Barbara Leader of The News Star in Monroe reports. Scores among eighth graders were also down in three of four subject areas. Caldwell Parish had a population just over 10,500 according to the 2000 census.

"Students qualifying for promotion from grade four to five has remained the same as in 2007, but students meeting promotional standards in eighth grade are down four points," Leader writes. Caldwell Superintendent John Sartin countered that the districts total performance score, a combination of a school district's individual students scores on LEAP, iLEAP and Graduate Exit Exam, as well as attendance and dropout rates and graduation outcomes, actually increased from 92.8 in 2007 to 96 in 2009. Data from 2010 was not yet available. "We certainly are looking at [the four-day week] very carefully," Sartin told Leader. "If we felt like it was overall adversely affecting our score, we would have to look at changing."

"I have real reservations about how it will affect student achievement," Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Keith Guice told Leader of the four-day week. "But, sometimes districts don't have a choice." In Union Parish, population just over 22,000, the local school board recently decided to adopt the four day week. "Union doesn't have a choice because it is being forced on them by financial problems," Guice told Leader. Sartin said regardless of the test score results, the four day week was "absolutely not" adversely affecting student performance. (Read more)

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