Louisiana is using a low subgroup threshold of 10 students, which helps identify more students in the accountability system.
The state does not include a separate weighting for disaggregated subgroup performance in its A-F grading system, but it has created back-end checks to ensure that schools are addressing the needs of very low-performing groups of students. Schools that are not serving student subgroups well will not be able to receive an “A” rating on the state’s identification system, will be designated as “Urgent Intervention Required,” and, if they remain in the category for three years, will be identified for more rigorous interventions. Schools with a group of students who would have received a “D” or “F” in any single year are designated as “Urgent Intervention Needed.”
Based on preliminary data, Louisiana expects to capture a number of schools under these definitions, ranging from 7 percent of schools with low-performing, economically disadvantaged students to 43 percent of schools with low-performing groups of students with disabilities. Louisiana deserves credit for capturing so many schools, and for running the data to estimate the potential effects of its plan, but it may want to consider the implications for identifying so many schools with low-performing groups of students with disabilities, and how it plans to respond to this challenge.
Louisiana is proposing to include students who are former English-language learners and former students with disabilities in their respective groups.
Since exiting students tend to have higher performance, the state should monitor its data to ensure it is not masking the performance of students who are still receiving services. And, although Louisiana may have only small populations of Asian-American and Native American students, it should make sure to include them as subgroups worthy of attention.