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.
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.
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.
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: