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La. Class of 2015 ACT Scores: State-run RSD New Orleans Drops to 15.6 Average Composite

February 5, 2016

As of February 05, 2016, the best place to locate any smatch of consolidated data on Louisiana’s Class of 2015 ACT scores is this July 16, 2015, article by Jessica Williams, entitled, “ACT Scores Rise for 2nd Straight Year in Louisiana.”

Williams’ title comes from the supposed rise of Louisiana’s Class of 2015 average ACT composite to 19.4 from 19.2 in 2014. Other numbers in Williams’ article are the supposed Recovery School District New Orleans (RSD-NO) Class of 2015 average ACT composite of 16.6, and the combined RSD-NO and Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) Class of 2015 average ACT composite of 18.8.

Remember these numbers.

In her article, Williams links to her data source, this once-embargoed file from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), entitled, “2014-15 Louisiana ACT 12th Grade Results.” The file includes ACT average composite scores by district.

What is noteworthy is that the file was publicized in July 2015, after the 2014-15 school year had ended– which means there should be no reason to “adjust” these numbers. (The file includes no statemen to the effect that these are preliminary numbers; the resulting press releases indicate nothing but finality.)

What is also worth noting is that as of February 05, 2016, this file is not available on the LDOE website.

There is no reason for LDOE to not have produced a comprehensive file of Class of 2015 ACT average composite scores by both district and school and readily available for public access.

So, on February 05, 2016, I sent the following email to all eleven members of Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), and to Louisiana State Superintendent John White:

From: Mercedes Schneider <>
Date: February 5, 2016 at 11:02:04 AM CST
To: <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>
Cc: <>
Subject: Class of 2015 ACT scores

Dear BESE Members:

It is 2016, and LDOE has yet to release a comprehensive file of the Class of 2015 ACT scores.

In other words, in March, the Class of 2016 will take the ACT, and the state, under the direction of John White, has yet to release scores that are at least 11 months old.

These scores should have been made available months ago, yet it seems John White has no intention to publicly release them at all.

This intentional withholding of ACT scores is nothing new. In fact, it was not until I began to release the Class of 2014 ACT scores in late January 2015 that LDOE posted a comprehensive file of the Class of 2014 ACT scores to its website.

Here is that history:

On January 3, 2015, I posted this entry entitled, “John White Refuses to Release La.’s Class of 2014 ACT Scores”:

As a result of that post, an individual with access to the ACT information system sent me Louisiana’s scores.

I posted the Class of 2014 ACT scores for RSD in this January 31, 2015, post:

Within the week– February 2015– LDOE released its version of a comprehensive file of Class of 2014 ACT scores:

I then released the comprehensive data I had on Louisiana’s Class of 2014 ACT scores:

It is February 2016– beyond time for John White’s LDOE to make publicly available the comprehensive file of Louisiana’s Class of 2015 ACT scores.

Thank you.

–Mercedes Schneider
St. Bernard graduate; St. Tammany teacher

Later the same day, I received the following response, directed to BESE members from John White:

From: John White <>
Date: February 5, 2016 at 2:59:01 PM CST
To: Kathy Edmonston <Kathy.Edmonston@LA.GOV>
Cc: “Erin Bendily (DOE)” <Erin.Bendily@LA.GOV>, “James Garvey (BESE Board)” <James.Garvey@LA.GOV>, “” <>, Jada Lewis <Jada.Lewis@LA.GOV>, Gary Jones <Gary.Jones@LA.GOV>, James Garvey <>, Kira Orange Jones <Kira.OrangeJones@LA.GOV>, Tony Davis <Tony.Davis@LA.GOV>, Sandy Holloway <Sandy.Holloway@LA.GOV>, Thomas Roque <Thomas.Roque@LA.GOV>, Lurie Thomason <Lurie.Thomason@LA.GOV>, “Shan N. Davis” <Shan.Davis@LA.GOV>
Subject: Re: Class of 2015 ACT scores
This request regards an Excel file listing all individual school average ACT scores. Those scores have been posted publicly on individual school report cards since October. An Excel file containing all school scores in one sheet has been through the data certification process and will be posted next week. [Emphasis added.]

The inclusion of Class of 2015 average ACT scores on the school report cards is a change from 2014 to 2015. The 2013-14 high school and district report cards do not include ACT average composite information, but the 2014-15 high school report cards do.

Given that LDOE could include such information on individual school and district report cards in October 2015, the fact that such information is not available in a comprehensive file by February 05, 2016, is inexcusable.

Those searching for a comprehensive listing of Class of 2015 average ACT scores are highly unlikely to think to search individual school and district report cards and create a comprehensive file from each and every report card– nor should they have to.

But I was curious to see exactly what ACT info was on those October 2015 school and district report cards.

And here comes an awakening, my friends.

Consider the ACT information on this 2014-15 district report card for RSD-NO (click image to enlarge):

2014-15 RSD-NO ACT

Two critical issues:

1) That state gain from 19.2 in 2014 to 19.4 in 2015– a gain reported on the July 2015 LDOE embargoed file meant for the press– is not supported by the 19.2 on the 2015 report card. 

2) The RSD-NO 2015 average composite score is an entire point lower than what was reported on the July 2015 LDOE embargoed file meant for the press. The press file had RSD-NO’s 2015 average ACT composite as 16.6. The 2015 district report card lists the 2015 average ACT composite as 15.6– its lowest since 2010.

A word about that 15.6 average ACT composite for RSD’s Class of 2015: When I released the Class of 2014 scores for RSD-NO based on information directly from the ACT information system, I noted that the Class of 2014 average ACT composite was 15.7. (Later that week, White released his version and had RSD-NO at 16.4.)

It seems that 15.7 for 2014 was much more likely than 16.4 given that the 2015 RSD-NO district report card has 15.6.

As for the publicized Class of 2015 average ACT composite for RSD and OPSB– 18.8– well, that number takes a hit on the RSD-OPSB report card, as well:

2014-15 RSD-OPSB ACT

Not 18.8, as the LDOE embargoed press release file notes, but 18.2.

Based on LDOE’s 2015 OPSB district report card, OPSB alone had a 2015 average ACT composite of 20.8.

So. All of this begs a few questions:

  1. When John White releases that comprehensive Excel file of Class of 2015 average ACT scores by district and school, which numbers will he choose?
  2. How will White spin the story of state gains given that the information on his own LDOE report cards shows no state gain?
  3. How will he try to downplay the 15.6 for his state-run, all-charter RSD-NO as noted on the report cards that his LDOE produced? Will he cry typo?

I guess we’ll just have to wait for him to return from his 25th anniversary Teach for America (TFA) shindig in Washington, DC, to find out.

john white 4John White


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. Harlan Underhill permalink

    Bravo. Go for it, M.

  2. I wonder if, since graduation rate and strength-of-diploma index each have a one-year lag built into them, if someone at either LDE or their contractor got confused on which year’s ACT scores to use. There’s also some obfuscation related to whether we’re seeing a report of all the tests associated with a school, only the highest score for each students, one of those possibilities but only for seniors, one of those possibilities but only for seniors who graduate . . .

    It seems Mr. White thrives on spreading confusion.

  3. Martha Toth permalink

    This is the job that people actually paid to be reporters should be doing. How pitiful that we must depend upon your “spare time” to uncover basic facts — and lying by government officials. I’m in Michigan, where our governor is determined to apply this bogus model of allegedly successful reform to long-suffering Detroit. THANK YOU for this ammunition!

  4. LAEducator permalink

    I believe that a lot of education reporters are paid by “philanthropists” like Bill Gates, the Waltons, the Broads, etc. to help put the positive spin on all of their education deforms.

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