Online students score lower on Louisiana standardized tests

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Louisiana Department of Education

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana education leaders said Tuesday state standardized test results show that public school students who attended in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic outperformed those who relied on distance learning.

The Advocate reports the disparities surfaced on LEAP 2025, standardized tests that measure what students in grades 3 through 12 know about math, English, science and social studies. Students took the tests in April and May.

The state Department of Education will unveil the results Wednesday, but released information Tuesday about the different results between students who attended class in person versus online.

Louisiana’s goal is for students to achieve mastery or better — the fourth-highest of five achievement levels.

The education department said in grades 3 through 8, the rate of students who scored mastery or higher on the English and math portions of the test was 15% higher for students who spent the 2020-21 school year in the classroom compared to those who relied on online instruction. Students who used distance learning had an 11% greater rate of scoring unsatisfactory on the exams — the lowest achievement level.

State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said in a statement the test results show it’s “absolutely critical that we keep our students in the classroom for this upcoming year while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”

About 75% of students were back in the classroom by the end of the most recent academic year.

Brumley made his comments a day after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a statewide mask mandate that will require students from kindergarten through college to wear a face covering in the classroom. The Democratic governor reenacted the mask mandate amid record-setting hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients across the state and a fourth surge of the coronavirus illness.

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