LAFAYETTE — Lafayette Parish schools need to add more computers and upgrade current devices if they are to keep pace with other Louisiana districts and adequately prepare for online standardized tests.
In a recent report, state education officials said the parish does not meet minimum device standards or a minimum student-to-testing-device ratio of 7:1. In addition, the districts does not currently meet 2014-15 Internet learning targets, although it does meet network bandwidth learning targets for that year.
Still, Lafayette is not alone in needing to catch up.
According to the report, only 12 Louisiana districts meet 2014-15 Internet bandwidth targets for daily learning, and only 27 districts meet 2014-15 network bandwidth requirements.
The need for technology upgrades is becoming more urgent because starting in 2014 students will be required to take online-only standardized tests as part of the transition to what’s called Common Core standards.
“Lafayette Parish has 15 schools that are adequately prepared for state online testing through the 2015-16 and 23 schools that need immediate plans of actions taken to prepare for state online testing taking place in 2014, 2015 and 2016,” state officials wrote in the report. “The district should work toward upgrading and procuring devices that meet the recommended device specifications and that meet the 5:1 ratio for testing at all of its school sites.”
The district is making some steps. Even amid budget cuts, nearly $1 million was allotted this year for better technology.
The state’s report also said the parish has a strategic plan to expand its Internet access and meet targets. It also noted the district, like others, will need to work with the state to create a plan for broadband access.