Mar 18, 2010 5:03 PM by Rob Kirkpatrick
BATON ROUGE, LA - As students across the state gear up to take standardized assessments, with the first testing date set for March 23, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is once again offering assistance to parents and students through its Tutoring Hotline. Additionally, LDOE is reminding families, students and teachers of all the resources available to them as they prepare for the state exams.
The Tutoring Hotline was launched in 2008 and operates several weeks each year before and during student testing. Over the last two years, the Hotline has fielded an estimated 200 calls per day. As in the past, tutors for the Hotline will be available to assist students and parents each evening, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting this week and continuing through April 9.
"We are very pleased to be able to provide this service to our students and their families," State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said . "We want our students to be comfortable and confident when test time rolls around, and practicing helps reassure them that they have the knowledge and skills to do well."
The statewide assessments are based on Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs), which define the knowledge and skills students should have obtained by the end of each grade in English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies.
Fourth- and eighth-grade students participate in the state's high stakes Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) test, which determines whether they are promoted to the next grade level. Students in 10th and 11th grades must pass Louisiana's Graduation Exit Examination (GEE) to earn a standard diploma. Students in 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th grades participate in the Integrated Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (iLEAP) test, which is designed to measure student progress, but does not determine whether students will be retained in their current grade.
In order to move to the next grade level, 4th and 8th grade students are required to score at least Basic in either ELA or math and Approaching Basic in the other subject. However, students who initially fail to meet the standards for promotion during spring testing are given another opportunity during the summer.
The assistance offered through the Tutoring Hotline is specifically centered on assisting 4th and 8th grade students and their families as they prepare to take LEAP. Tutors assist students in answering questions from practice books that were developed by LDOE and distributed to schools in February. Students and families who need assistance answering the questions contained in the books may use the Tutoring Hotline as a resource. The toll-free phone number for the Hotline is 1-877-453-2721.
Louisiana began administering LEAP in 1999 and GEE in 2001. H owever, for the first time, high-stakes tests (LEAP and GEE) will be given in two phases.
On March 23, fourth- and eighth- grade students will take the writing portion of the English Language Arts (ELA) exam, along with the written-response section of the math test. These students will take the remaining portions of the ELA and math exams, as well as the science and social studies tests on April 12-16.
Students in the 10th grade will take the writing portion of the English Language Arts (ELA) exam and the written-response section of the math test on March 23. Tenth graders will take the remaining components of the math and ELA tests during the week of April 12.
Students in the 11th grade will take the science and social studies written-response items on March 23 and the remaining parts of these tests during the week of April 12.
Additionally, all students in grades 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 will participate i n the state's iLEAP test during the week of April 12.
"As a former educator, I realize the apprehension students and educators may feel during test time," said Keith Guice, President of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. "Our hope is that families and students will take advantage of the Tutoring Hotline and some of the other resources that are available to them as a way of relieving some of their anxiety."
In addition to the Tutoring Hotline, the Department offers the following resources on its website:
*Newton's Classroom: Online interactive math tutorials for students in grades 1-8. Each of the lessons is designed with three levels of basic skills and concepts. Newton's Classroom can be accessed here.
*PASS (Practice Assessment/Strengthen Skills): Resources for students in grades 3-12. Students c an test their knowledge of ELA, math, science and social studies through questions that are similar to those on the LEAP, iLEAP, GEE and LAA 2 exams. Students will also receive instructional feedback when they answer questions incorrectly, and may strengthen writing skills by writing a composition and having it scored through PASS. PASS can be accessed here.
*PASS on Paper: Practice tests provided for students in grades 4, 8, 10 and 11 who may not have access to a home computer. Students may download and print copies of the PASS on Paper tests, which offer lessons in ELA, math, science and social studies that are similar to those found on the standardized assessments. The PASS on Paper tests can be accessed here.
*Reading Runway: PreK-3 tutorials that allow students to visit virtual destinations as they practice and strengthen their reading skills. Reading Runway can be accessed here.
EAGLE: The EAGLE (Enhanced Assessment of Grade-Level Expectations) system is designed to provide administrators and teachers in grades 3-12 with access to pre-made tests that are based on the state's GLEs. Teachers may also create their own tests or quizzes for each GLE unit. The tests can be assigned to students and taken online; progress reports are also available. The EAGLE system can be accessed here.
*To access these resources, students can obtain a password to participate through their school or by calling 1-877-453-2721.
For additional resources, including test-taking t ips for families, please visit www.louisianaschools.net.