- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana has made “great progress” in its use of more than $17 million in federal money for improving education in grades K-12, the U.S. Department of Education said Friday.

The assessment of how Louisiana and other states are using “Race to the Top” grant money notes growth in proficiency in English Language Arts among students in grades three through eight and grade 10; and improvements in math proficiency in grades five and eight.

The report highlighted support teams formed by the state to help districts implement Common Core academic standards and new teacher evaluation tools. It also outlined areas needing improvement. For instance, it said Louisiana reported that 31 percent of state schools offered one or more advanced placement courses for 2012-2013, short of its target of 45 percent.

The report said the support teams put in place by the Louisiana Department of Education have served as liaisons between the department and local districts. “Educators and administrators credit Network Support Teams with bringing an understanding of local issues to LDOE,” it said.

It also highlighted the state’s Enhanced Assessment of Grade-Level Expectations system, described by the state as an online classroom assessment tool designed for Louisiana teachers to create their own tests or access premade unit tests.

The report’s assessment of EAGLE was positive overall, but it noted that the state hasn’t met all of its goals for the system.

“While the number of tests created by teachers exceeded the State’s target, targets for the number of tests completed by students and the number of EAGLE logins were not met,” the report said.

Louisiana’s $17.5 million Race to the Top grant was announced in December 2011. It is a three-year grant. Friday’s report was on progress after the second year.

Similar reports were issued Friday for Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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