Live Oak High Class of 2020

Leslie Lively, at podium, leads the Pledge of Allegiance during a graduation ceremony celebrating the Live Oak High Class of 2020 on Tuesday, June 23.

The Livingston Parish Class of 2020 scored above the state average on the ACT, the state’s test that determines college readiness, according to figures from the Louisiana Department of Education.

But like the rest of the state, Livingston Parish recorded its lowest average ACT composite score since 2013, the same year the state granted all students free access to the test.

The exam measures what students have learned in math, English, reading, and science and is used for college admissions and access to scholarships and financial aid, including TOPS.

The Class of 2020 Louisiana report includes more than 53,000 students, officials said. (To view the figures, click here.)

According to figures released this week by the Department of Education, the latest composite score for Livingston Parish was a 20 out of a possible 36, with all nine area high schools scoring above the state average of 18.7.

Livingston Parish was one of five districts — out of a possible 70 — with an average score of at least 20. Others included school systems in Plaquemines (20.1), St. Tammany (21.1), and West Feliciana (20) parishes and the Zachary Community School District (21.6).

Locally, French Settlement High and Live Oak High netted the highest composite score, each averaging a 21.1 on the ACT. French Settlement High and Live Oak High were two of 26 schools statewide with a score of at least 21, which earns schools an “A” grade in the state's high school rating system.

Narrowly behind those two schools was Holden High (20.9), followed by Maurepas High and Doyle High (20.4), Denham Springs High (20.2), Albany High (19.1), Springfield High (19), and Walker High (18.8).

Approximately 67 percent of last year’s Livingston Parish seniors who took the ACT (995 out of 1,483) earned a college-going ACT of 18, compared to the state total of 52 percent. Of that total, 42 percent of Livingston Parish’s seniors scored at least a 21, higher than the statewide total of 32 percent.

And unlike the state as a whole, Livingston Parish actually increased its ACT scores among Students with Disabilities (15.8 in 2019 to 16.1 in 2020) and Economically Disadvantaged (18.7 in 2019 to 18.9 in 2020). Meanwhile, the state saw declines in both of those subgroups.

But while Livingston Parish mostly outpaced the state average on the ACT, this year’s average actually marked a decrease following consecutive years of 20.6 as well as the parish’s lowest score since 2013 (19.6), a troubling trend being felt across the state.

Statewide, this marks the third consecutive year Louisiana’s ACT Composite score has decreased. After reaching a score of 19.6 in 2017, the state average fell to 19.3 in 2018 and 18.9 in 2019.

In a statement, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley voiced concerns over the “continued decline.”

“Our Louisiana students are as talented as any across the country. This continued decline in scores should trigger our thinking about flipping this trajectory,” Brumley said. “When students score higher, they open additional doors of opportunities for themselves and their families.”

In the same statement, State Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed described the recent decreases in ACT scores as a “call to action.”

“While ACT scores are not mandated for college acceptance in Louisiana, this year's scores are a clear mandate charge to us to do better in preparing all students,” Reed said.

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