NEW ORLEANS — Five hundred seventy-one Louisiana public schools, or about 44%, have "persistently struggling groups of students" and are now required to develop improvement plans, the state Department of Education said Wednesday.

The department released performance data Wednesday as part of the state's compliance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Among the 571 schools are 271 labeled as needing "comprehensive improvement," for persistent low overall grades or poor graduation rates.

Three hundred other schools — including some with high overall grades — must work to improve performance among sub-groups of students. Those groups include English language learners; low-income students and those with disabilities.

The department pointed to promising findings.

"The distribution of school performance scores has shifted modestly to include more 'A' and 'B' grades," the department said.

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