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|LEAP scores below average|
More than half of all students attending Franklin Parish schools perform below basic competency levels in English and mathematics, according to standardized test scores released last week by the state Department of Education.
Franklin Parish Schools superintendent Lanny Johnson said school officials were still compiling information from the scores on the statewide LEAP test, but was cautiously optimistic about the scores.
"There are a lot of different categories and we are looking at them," Johnson said.
Johnson indicated that, while progress was made in a few areas, there was still more work to be done.
"Overall we felt better," Johnson said. "We improved some scores, especially at Winnsboro Elementary School."
According to figures released by Dept. of Education officials last week, more than half of Franklin Parish students scored below basic competency levels on the English and mathematics portions of the statewide LEAP test.
Among ninth graders, 44 percent of students achieved a basic competency score while 23 percent were "approaching basic" in the English portion of the exam. Some 19 percent were listed as "unsatisfactory" while 14 percent scored above the basic competency level.
That same group of students demonstrated similar performance in the mathematics portion of the exam. Thirty-six percent of students taking the exam scored basic competency. Fifty-five percent were graded below basic or unsatisfactory.
Johnson said the numbers showed clear improvements, adding the work was not over.
"In looking at all the statistics, it is fairly decent and we need to keep improving," Johnson said.
Franklin Parish curriculum coordinator DeLayne Donnell said she was proud of students in the system because their hard work is paying off.
"We still have room for improvement, but I feel good about the overall test scores," Donnell said.
She pointed to increased performance at Franklin Elementary as one example of success in Franklin Parish.
Donnell said the parish had already identified areas of concern from the 2008 test results.
One major point of focus will be improving the overall sixth-grade scores, Donnell said.
In the 2008 results, 58 percent of students demonstrated below-basic skill levels in English, mathematics and social studies. Fifty-four percent of sixth graders performed below basic on the science portion.
Donnell said officials would be working with staffs at the various schools to address particular areas of concern.
"Overall, we're going to continue focusing on our areas of concern and work hard to improve throughout the parish," Donnell said.
Donnell noted those areas of weakness are still being determined.
"The scores are so fresh, we're still analyzing exactly what we need to do," Donnell said. "Whatever weaknesses we find, that's what we're going to target."