Landmark plan embraces Louisiana’s fundamental shift in how children are taught to read
BATON ROUGE – Louisiana has adopted the state’s first accountability system for kindergarten through second grade. The Louisiana Department of Education’s (LDOE) literacy-focused plan was approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) on Aug. 24.
“This landmark action closes a glaring gap in our accountability system and embraces a fundamental shift in how we’re teaching children to read,” said State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “Not only has our state rallied behind this commitment to our early learners, but we’re continuing to see momentum build behind Louisiana’s reading revival.”
While Louisiana has a nationally recognized early childhood quality rating system and a robust 3-12 accountability system, the state lacked a strong measure of how students in grades K-2 were performing prior to Wednesday’s vote.
Accountability systems identify what student success looks like and measure progress towards those outcomes. When student goals are clearly defined, educators can drive change by aligning resources to priorities. This K-2 accountability plan will encourage educators to embrace this fundamental shift in literacy instruction.
Louisiana’s new K-2 accountability is part of a comprehensive literacy strategy that emphasizes the Science of Reading. Students in grades K-2 will take a literacy indicator that measures early literacy skills, ensuring they are making adequate progress. Those results will be reflected in the annual School Performance Scores and District Performance Scores. Students will begin taking the literacy indicator during the 2024-25 school year.
Also, schools will be incentivized to utilize research-based instructional rubrics in early education focusing on best practices in teaching and learning.
“This long-awaited enhancement to Louisiana’s accountability system will be an important tool in improving early literacy in our state,” said BESE President Jim Garvey. “Accurately measuring and reporting the progress of basic skills development in grades K-2 is critical in helping system leaders and parents identify obstacles to reading, and ensuring that our youngest learners are on track for academic success.”
Wednesday’s vote comes after more than two years of stakeholder engagement, research, and planning by LDOE. While K-2 accountability currently focuses on early literacy, LDOE will also begin exploring the possibility of adding a math component in the future.
“We took an important step to include age-appropriate K-2 assessments in how we communicate school performance,” said Assistant Superintendent of Assessments, Accountability & Analytics Thomas Lambert. “Reliable and consistent data will help ensure our students are ready to master 3rd-grade skills. Literacy matters–we must know how our students are doing in order to provide support and help Louisiana’s kids grow.”