Academic Services Newsletter

February - March 2014

Start of the Spring Semester

The Spring semester began with an advising day and an opportunity for students to adjust their schedules through dropping and adding classes. Those procedures all went smoothly, and when they were over, the Academic Services staff did a last check to make sure all the students had a full schedule, that none were overloaded, and that all seniors were in the classes they needed to make graduation requirements.

We’re now a few weeks into the new semester. While many faculty have posted a few grades, we will be asking all faculty to update their grade books by next Wednesday for our mini-assessment meeting. If we have reason to believe that any students are falling into trouble, you will be notified and they will be required to attend evening study Monday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. in the CPT. Click here for the tutoring schedule.

Sneaux Days

We’ve had an unusual winter. On Friday, January 24, we delayed starting classes until 10:30 a.m. because there was snow in Natchitoches. We wanted the ice to have a chance to melt before faculty had to drive in from home and before students had to walk across the hilly campus. There was a full snow day on Tuesday, January 28, and another late starting on Wednesday the 29. Some of the missing class periods were replaced during guided study periods. On the 29th we ran an abbreviated schedule so that all classes would meet, even if for only shortened periods. We are looking at ways to replace the classes missed on Tuesday the 28th.

Upcoming Testings

ACT Testing

You’re going to hear a lot about testing this semester, particularly if you are the parent of a sophomore or junior. The first of these is going to be the ACT, which all Louisiana high school juniors are required to take. The date of the ACT test is Tuesday, March 18. Last year our students performed very well on the junior ACT, many of them choosing to use this score for their college applications. There is no reason to believe that this year will be any different.

PARCC Field Testing

PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC is a consortium of eighteen states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands “working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers.” The PARCC tests are based upon Common Core State Standards. Though PARCC is not scheduled to become operational until 2014-2015, it is being field tested this spring. LSMSA has been asked to be a field test site for Geometry and Algebra II. When our students take the test, they will help the PARCC consortium assess the validity of the test as an instrument measuring student achievement, and they will help us to see how our students perform, not just against other Louisiana high school students, but against students in other states in the PARCC consortium.

End of Course Testing

We had End of Course testing (EOC) for a small subset of the student population in December, but that was limited only to students who completed Geometry or American Literature as a one-semester class. In May we will have EOC testing for English 110 (Sophomore English), English 210 (Junior English), American Lit, Biology, History, and year-long Geometry. This will happen during two “Half-Dead” days on May 12 and 13. The EOC tests will be in the morning. Faculty will be asked to be in their offices in the afternoon to answer last-minute questions. Final exams will begin May 14.