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Expect Inflation in Louisiana’s 2015-16 High School Performance Scores

October 2, 2016

In 2015-16, 25 percent of Louisiana’s school performance score calculation for high schools will be based upon student scores on the ACT, with a twist: According to Bulletin 111, Louisiana’s legal document detailing the district and state accountability system, beginning in 2015-16, ACT’s job skills assessment, WorkKeys, can be substituted for ACT scores.

ACT’s WorkKeys has three tests (applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information) and is scored on four levels: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. According to ACT, the scores can range from “<3” to either 6 (locating information) or 7 (math and reading) and have the following meaning:


As far as the meaning for Louisiana school performance scores, the following conversion applies (based on a 150-point scale):

WorkKeys Level Index Points
Platinum 136.4
Gold 116.8
Silver 100

And here comes the problem for LDOE regarding the 2015-16 school performance scores that are due to be released at the end of October 2016:

It seems that many schools took advantage of substituting WorkKeys for ACT scores. It also seems that students were allowed to take the WorkKeys assessment numerous times, and as a result, many Louisiana high school students scored really well on WorkKeys…

…which means that the 2015-16 high school performance scores will be noticeably inflated.

Apparently, LDOE director of research, Laura Boudreaux, broke this news to Louisiana state superintendent John White just last week (the week of September 26, 2016). My information comes from an unnamed source inside of LDOE.

Districts and schools are supposed to pay LDOE for WorkKeys assessments. A good question concerns who, exactly, is paying for WorkKeys retakes, for these retakes are high stakes– higher WorkKeys scores boost school and district performance scores.

A comprehensive audit of LDOE is long overdue.

Of course, not all high schools and districts stored eggs in the WorkKeys basket. They are at a disadvantage, not for failing to educate students, but for failing to work the WorkKeys system.

Indeed, WorkKeys has become the latest out for an ever-higher school/district performance score. In fact, in Lafourche Parish, the October 02, 2016, Daily Comet announced that Chevron is donating $25,000 to schools, in part to pay for students to retake WorkKeys.

Those who believe that school performance scores are objective and above manipulation might want to think again– and cultivate a warm relationship with Chevron.

As for John White: he has several weeks to think of how he will spin the story of the inflated high school scores.

Those wishing to confirm that Boudreaux believes the high school performance scores will be inflated and that such inflation is due to the presence of WorkKeys can try to reach her by email at and by phone at (225) 342-5769. (Contact info comes from this 2007-08 LDOE report. LDOE under John White does not offer a publicly-accessible staff directory.)



Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

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

One Comment
  1. Do you know how the tests are administered? Specifically, how tight is the security for the test materials and the test administration? If school officials have total control over the materials and administration procedures, with no external oversight or constraint, certainly there will be test score inflation. School staff are humans, not robots. R. Phelps

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