Louisiana Moves From 4th Worst To 3rd Worst On AP Performance

Louisiana is one of the most ‘reform friendly’ states in the country.  They got a Race To The Top grant in 2011, in 2012 they got a TFA alum, John White, as their state superintendent and they created an all charter district, the RSD, for the city of New Orleans.  For all their increased autonomy, as the reform credo goes, they have increased accountability which, for them, means that they have to get their test scores up or else.

I’ve been tracking the progress on the AP tests in Louisiana for five years.  Every year when the AP results are reported, John White holds a press conference celebrating the amazing progress that students in Louisiana have made over the years.

From 2012

From 2013

From 2014

From 2015

From 2016

From 2017

This all sounds great, but when I go to the actual AP data from the College Board website I find that that data paints a different story.

Increased participation can make it difficult to compare results across states since the passing percent might go down while actually having more students pass the tests.  To make an ‘apples to apples’ comparison, I calculated how many juniors and seniors per 1000 juniors and seniors in each state passed an AP test.  For that year, Louisiana ranked 4th to last.


ap comparison 2014

A few months ago the Louisiana Department of Education put out a press release with the title ‘NUMBER OF STUDENTS EARNING ADVANCED PLACEMENT® CREDITS INCREASES BY 10 PERCENT‘  Reading this release, you would think that AP scores in Louisiana are on the rise.  But by looking at the latest data from The College Board, I notice that in the most objective way, Louisiana AP scores are actually on the decline.

Here is the ‘apples to apples’ statewide comparison for the 2016 tests.

ap comparison 2016

So Louisiana is no longer the 4th worst state on the AP tests.  It is now the 3rd worst state since being overtaken by North Dakota.

Two years ago after I made the graph for the 2014 scores, one of the reform propaganda sites, Citizen Ed, wrote an entire post just about me called ‘The Misanthropy Of Gary Rubinstein’ with the lede “If you’re a Teach For America alum like I am, you’ve probably heard of the name Gary Rubinstein. If you haven’t, stop reading now, because he’s the sort of person who will only erode your faith in the essential goodness of humanity.”  I wonder what they will say now, two years later, that Louisiana is not even keeping pace with the lowest performing states.  It would be nice if they took some time to think about how hypocritical it is for them to ignore when reform heroes like John White continue to misrepresent the lack of improvement of Louisiana test scores.

Here are links to previous posts about Louisiana AP results:

From 2015

From 2014

From 2013

From 2012



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5 Responses to Louisiana Moves From 4th Worst To 3rd Worst On AP Performance

  1. dianeravitch says:

    Next you should review Tennessee, Arne Duncan’s favorite Reform State

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Zorba says:

    Yes, well, woohoo for them.
    Or not so much.
    I can’t believe they’re celebrating and hyping this. They need to get back to us when they’re in the top third, or at least the top half.
    Of course, the whole testing thing is horse manure on the first place.

  3. Pingback: Gary Rubinstein: Louisiana and the Hoax of Growing AP Performance | Diane Ravitch's blog

  4. I don’t see anything surprising here.

    The neo-libertarian (neo-conservative and neo-liberal) corporate reformers of public education that mostly belong to ALEC and/or are Koch brothers stooges are great at cherry picking or inventing alternative facts (lies and conspiracy theories) to support their get-rich schemes that rob the poor and middle class to enrich the already rich and powerful.

    If their agenda was an apple tree and all but one apple rotted and fell off the tree before they were ready to pick and after the only apple to survive was picked and the tree died, those cons and frauds would take that one surviving apple and claim they had a bumper crop. That it was the greatest apple in the history of apple trees.

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