Understanding current educational attainment levels and tracking progress over time is critical to achieving collective success in improving regional education outcomes. For that reason, 1A developed this interactive data dashboard to collect and report on the latest educational attainment data for our region. The dashboard uses data from publicly available sources like the Louisiana Department of Education and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Use the menu below to view details on specific data indicators we're tracking, or click the button below to view the full Dashboard.
WHAT IS THE BIG PICTURE OF EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT IN ACADIANA?
- In terms of the percent of adults (age 25+) with an associate degree or above, Louisiana ranks 48th as a state
- Within Louisiana, Acadiana ranks in the bottom half as a region (5th out of 8)
- In the nine-parish 1A region, as of 2020 Census data, 27.5% of adults have an associate degree or above, while only 21.3% have a bachelor’s degree or above
- We must improve this trajectory to remain economically competitive and prepare our citizens for good jobs and good wages
ARE ACADIANA STUDENTS MASTERING GRADE-LEVEL CONTENT?
- Students in grades 3 through 8 take Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) assessments, which measure grade-level skills aligned with the Louisiana Student Standards
- Louisiana’s goal is that all students achieve mastery (4 on a 5-point scale)
- Mastery of 3rd grade ELA (reading and writing) is critical; 75 percent of students who are poor readers in 3rd grade never catch up
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LEAP assessments were not administered in 2020. In 2021, the LEAP was administered again with extended testing windows and remote testing options. According to the La. Department of Education, due to these different procedures, the 2021 results “should be interpreted with caution”
- 8 of the 9 parishes in the 1A region saw a decline in 3rd grade reading scores from 2019 to 2021
- Math skills are closely linked to problem solving and critical thinking
- Currently, less than 1 out of 3 Acadiana 8th graders have mastered grade-level math content and are prepared for more rigorous STEM coursework in high school
- 7 of the 9 parishes in the 1A region saw a decline in 8th grade math scores from 2019 to 2021
- As we strive to make progress in improving our region’s education outcomes, particular attention must be focused on addressing the persistent achievement gap among subgroups like Black or African-American students and economically disadvantaged students
- While 73% of all 3rd to 8th grade students in Acadiana have failed to master grade-level content, the same is true for 85% of Black or African-American students
- Furthermore, there is a 23 percentage point achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers
- LEAP results for 2021 show a decline in scores among all of these subgroups compared to pre-pandemic (2019) results
ARE ACADIANA STUDENTS GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL AND READY FOR COLLEGE?
- The rate of high school students that graduate within four years of starting 9th grade is an important measure of the performance of local school districts and in whether students are prepared for college or a career
- The average four-year graduation rate in the 1A region is 87.5%, ahead of the statewide average of 84%
- It has increased by 14.1 percentage points since 2012 when it was 73.4%
- The ACT is a standardized test for college admissions in the U.S. and is a widely accepted measure of educational quality
- These scores are especially relevant to business because they provide a measure of the “final product” of the public education system
- 1A’s average ACT composite score of 17.8 lags the state (18.2) and national (20.3) averages
ARE ACADIANA STUDENTS TRANSITIONING TO COLLEGE?
- Despite increasing high school graduation rates, the rate of high school graduates who transition right into college has declined in recent years
- While 87.5% of Acadiana students graduate high school within four years, only 47.7% of those graduates enroll in college the first fall after graduating, trailing the state (53.8%) and national (66.2%) averages
- With a high point of 54.2% in 2015, Acadiana’s college-going rate has declined each year since then
ARE ACADIANA STUDENTS COMPLETING COLLEGE?
- For public 2-year institutions, the national average for first-year, full-time students who return to the same institution the fall following the initial term of enrollment was 60%
- For public 4-year institutions, the national average was 80%
- A number of factors impact college retention, including academic performance, academic engagement, individual attitude and satisfaction, and social and family support
- As of 2020 data, college graduation rates in the 1A region were holding steady
- The national average for completing a certificate or associate degree within 150 percent of normal time (i.e., completing a 2-year degree within 3 years) at public 2-year institutions was 33%
- The national average for completing a bachelor’s degree within 150 percent of normal time (i.e., within 6 years) at public 4-year institutions was 63%
DATA POWERED BY THE BLANCO CENTER