PLAQUEMINE, La. (AP) — Some Iberville Parish School Board members pin the blame for lackluster scores on the LEAP and iLEAP achievement tests on excessive teacher absences, understaffed schools and a teacher incentive program called TAP.

The Advocate reports ( Brandie Blanchard, the district's personnel coordinator, presented the School Board with the 2011-12 LEAP percent proficient data earlier this month.

LEAP scores were released by the state Department of Education on May 23.

The Louisiana Educational Assessment Program test is given in fourth and eighth grades. iLEAP is given in third, fifth, sixth and seventh grades.

Overall, Blanchard said, the district did not experience a substantial drop in scores, but they didn't increase either.

The district's LEAP scores rose 5.2 percent in the 2010-11 school year, she said.

Blanchard said Iberville still ranks sixth statewide in gains since 2007. However the news did little to ease the disappointment of several board members.

Board members Dorothy Sansoni and Brian Willis each cited personnel deficiencies and teacher absences at East Iberville School due to incentive-based teacher training as reasons for eighth-graders' low scores.

"Everyone is running around here saying TAP is good," Willis said. "But when you get people one-on-one, teachers in the system say they hate it. They think it's wrong. If teachers are not there, the kids aren't going to get it."

Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne said he agreed with some of the board's views about TAP, but added once teachers get acclimated to the new system, he doubted it could be blamed for failing scores.

On teacher absences, Cancienne said he will invite a lawyer to an upcoming retreat with principals and present a plan to hold teachers and other employees more accountable.


Information from: The Advocate,