Invalidated 7th-grade scores cause concern

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 20, 2004

MONTICELLO – Lawrence County School District officials werehappy with their gains on the Mississippi Curriculum Testdistrictwide but admitted concern over seventh-grade math tests atone school being invalidated.

The state invalidated seventh-grade math scores at Rod PaigeMiddle School because of testing irregularities, said SharonDungan, federal programs and testing coordinator for the LawrenceCounty district.

A hearing for two teachers accused of helping their studentswith the test was completed earlier this month, but the matter isstill under review.

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The teachers were suspended and not rehired for the 2004-2005school year but are protesting the district’s response. They saythey are innocent of the charges. A decision on the hearing isexpected next month.

The seventh-grade MCT scores are especially important becauseseventh grade is one of two “benchmark” grades used to evaluateschool and student performance. Students must pass the MCT at thethird- and seventh-grade levels before proceeding to a highergrade.

The state Department of Education has not decided how thosestudents will be evaluated, although the students were allowed tobegin eighth grade this year, Dungan said.

One option under consideration is that the students who advancedto eighth grade will have to retake and pass the seventh-grade MCTmath test before advancing to ninth grade.

The other option, she said, is to evaluate the eighth-gradescores and use them as the benchmark for those students.