Jun 28, 2018
Since 2012, Louisiana has been developing policies to improve student outcomes in the areas of early childhood education, K–12 academics, teacher preparation, and graduation pathways; an overview of these efforts is provided in the 2018 RAND report Raising the Bar: Louisiana's Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes. The current report, which is part of a four-part series on the implementation and outcomes of these reforms, focuses on Louisiana's strategies to support and improve K–12 academics.
The authors' findings suggest that Louisiana's standards and curriculum recommendations have been largely supported and have driven widespread adoption of state-recommended curricula. In addition, mathematics and English language arts (ELA) teachers in Louisiana appear to be receiving more standards-aligned professional development than their peers in other states, and ELA teachers reported that their students were doing more standards-aligned classroom work than students in other states. However, interviews suggested some frustration with the pace of science and social studies reforms, and findings also suggest that achievement gaps between students in some ethnic groups may be widening.
Taken together, these reports provide an overview of how an ambitious set of interconnected state policies are making their mark on the teaching and learning happening in early childhood centers, schools, and teacher preparation institutions across the state. Louisiana's experiences might have implications for other states that are exploring changes to their education systems.