A detailed look: School strengths, weaknesses shownPublished 2:00pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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A detailed look at local schools’ performance on the Mississippi Department of Education’s subject area testing program (SAPT2) and Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition (MCT2) reveals strengths and weaknesses among the city and county schools.
In Biology I and English II on the SAPT2, the averages for city and county high school students were slightly higher than the state averages. Local students had a passing rate of 81.9 percent compared to 79 percent statewide in Biology I, and 74.7 percent locally compared to 73 percent in statewide for English II.
But, in U.S. History, the state average was 81 percent, which was slightly higher than the local students’ average of 80.6 percent, and the state average of 85 percent in Algebra I was slightly higher than the area average of 84.2 percent.
Brookhaven High School students in Algebra I had a 64 percent passing average compared to the state average of 85 percent. Removing the city’s average from area scores reveals a substantially higher passing score of 87.7 percent in Algebra I based on the remainder of the area schools.
Alexander Junior High showed an impressive 90.5 percent of its eighth graders taking Algebra I passed the test for the SATP2. What makes for a strong group at Alexander is that students who are advanced enough to take the Algebra I course in the eighth grade are typically the best students in the class.
In the county school district, West Lincoln led the way in Algebra I with 96 percent passing, followed by Bogue Chitto with 95.1 percent passing, Loyd Star with 87 percent passing and Enterprise with 72.7 percent passing.
In U.S. History, 70.6 percent of the city students passed compared to the state average of 81 percent. The county had an average passing score of 83.1, with no county school scoring below 74 percent, which was the passing score at Enterprise Attendance Center. West Lincoln again led the way for the county, with 94.2 percent passing, followed by Loyd Star with 85.7 percent and Bogue Chitto with 78.6 percent.
In English II, 65.6 percent of Brookhaven High’s students taking the test passed, 77 percent of county schools passed and the state average was 73 percent. Bogue Chitto’s scores for English II are the lowest at 63.6 percent.
Brookhaven High came in a little stronger in Biology I with 78.4 percent passing, nearing the state average of 79 percent. The overall area average was 81.9 percent. Loyd Star had the lowest passing rate of 63.5 percent. West Lincoln had the highest rate at 96 percent, followed by Bogue Chitto with 90.6, Enterprise with 81 percent and Loyd Star with 63.5 percent.
The MDE gives the MCT2 to third through eighth-grade students. The MDE considers third and seventh grade years as benchmark years. Students scoring minimal in these grades are placed on a list for intervention with teacher support teams and remedial courses.
In its interpretations of MCT2 scores, the MDE ranks performance on the tests as Advanced, Proficient, Basic or Minimal as follows:
• Advanced – Able to perform in a manner clearly beyond that required to be successful in the grade or courses of the content area. Students perform at a high level of difficulty, complexity or fluency.
• Proficient – Demonstrates solid academic performance and mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade, course or content area. Students at this level are prepared to begin work on more challenging material required at the next level.
• Basic – Demonstrates partial mastery of what is required and may experience difficulty at the next at the next grade or course level. The student can perform at low levels of difficulty and complexity or fluency – Remediation is recommended at this level.
• Minimal – Inconsistently demonstrates the knowledge or skill that define basic level performance. Students scoring at this level require additional instruction and remediation in the knowledge and skills necessary for the next level.
Scoring “Basic” or above on the MCT2 test is important to the MDE’s calculations for the accountability grades for Mississippi schools, which will be released Friday, Sept. 13. Each “Basic” score earns a school one point toward its achievement and growth index. A Proficient score nets two points and an Advanced score yields three points, while minimal scores have no points.
Generally speaking students scoring Proficient or above are succeeding and doing well with the material while those scoring Basic and Minimal are those that are struggling and failing.
In language arts, 63.6 percent of area seventh graders scored proficient or higher compared to the state percentage of 66.1 percent.
In math, the area’s seventh grade students scoring proficient and above averaged 65.7 percent compared to the state average of 66.1 percent.
Third graders in the area scoring proficient or higher in language arts averaged 62.3 percent compared to the state average of 58.6 percent.
And in math, the area’s percentage of third graders scoring Proficient or above was 71.4 percent compared to 67.2 percent of the state’s third graders at the same level.
Looking at the school-by-school averages for seventh graders in math, Bogue Chitto led the way with 76 percent scoring proficient or above. Alexander Junior High School followed with 68.9 percent, which was nearly neck and neck with West Lincoln’s 68.8 percent. Next was Enterprise with 58.5 percent and Loyd Star with 56.5 percent. The state average was 66.1 percent.
In seventh grade language arts, West Lincoln led the area with 73.8 percent scoring proficient or above, followed by Enterprise with 64.3 percent, Loyd Star with 62.9 percent, Bogue Chitto with 62 percent and Alexander Junior High School with 54.8 percent. The state average was 63.1 percent.
On the third grade math test, West Lincoln posted 88.2 percent with proficient or above scores, compared to Loyd Star’s 84.3 percent, Enterprise’s 77.3 percent, Brookhaven Elementary’s 60.5 percent and Bogue Chitto’s 46.8 percent.
On the third-grade language arts section, Loyd Star led the area with 78.4 percent scoring proficient or above, followed by West Lincoln with 78 percent, Enterprise with 72 percent, Brookhaven Elementary with 47.1 percent and Bogue Chitto with 36.2 percent.
To research test results for schools and to compare how Brookhaven and Lincoln County schools compared to other districts, visit MDE’s website at www.mde.k12.ms.us.