Copiah Co. schools work to improve test scores

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2002

Major improvements in several test areas have brought a proudand hopeful feeling to the Copiah County School District.

“Overall, I feel good about our scores. We’re pleased with wherewe are, and I feel like we made some significant improvements inthe district,” said Superintendent of Education Ricky Clopton.

Clopton believes reduced class sizes and involvement with tworegional educational boards boosted the district’s scores in theMississippi Curriculum Test (MCT), Writing Assessment and TerraNova.

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“We’re working with all these people to not only work on ourtest scores, but improve our schools as well,” he said.

A great deal of time has also been spent on staff development,giving teachers the proper tools needed to provide a qualityeducation for all students in the district, said Clopton, addingthat several teachers attended national conferences during the pastyear to learn from other educators about improving test scores.

The MCT, compiled of tests in reading, language and math, wasgiven to students in grades two through eight to measure classroominstruction statewide.

“I’m really appreciative of our teachers and our principals fortheir focus in these areas. We improved in a lot of areas,” saidClopton.

Scores from the MCT given in 2001 were used by teachers andadministrators to address areas of need. They plan to do the samewith the new results.

Even though the results fell below the state average in everycategory, Clopton said the scores are a marked improvement overlast year, which was a step in the right direction.

“We feel like our students and our teachers have done some goodthings this year, but we will not rest on that,” he said. “We justneed to modify and change and address any shortcomings.”

In the Writing Assessment test given to fourth and seventhgraders, fourth graders scored 1.9, compared to the 2.5 stateaverage; while seventh graders came up to a 2.0 average, with thestate average at 2.3.

Clopton hopes to continue improving those scores by working toincrease students’ writing proficiency in the district.

“A major part of our plans is having writing as a majorcomponent in the curriculum,” he said. “The correlation betweenwriting and reading in all areas will significantly help us improveall test scores.”

Terra Nova scores brought similar results to the district whenfifth and eighth graders bumped the district’s scores up inreading, language and math. They also decreased the number ofstudents ranking in the lower quartile, following in line withstate results.

Clopton plans to have administrators and teachers beginreviewing all test results at the first staff development sessionin hopes of constantly striving forward.

“We want to continue what we’re doing and continue moving up theladder,” he said about the district’s plans for the future.