Most schools make grade on state tests

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 18, 2005

Test scores in the local area generally eclipsed the stateaverage in 2004-2005 Mississippi Curriculum Test scores releasedtoday, but responses from school officials were mixed.

“Overall we’re happy with the results, and we feel we did wellwhen compared to the state,” said Bruce Falvey, testing coordinatorfor Lincoln County Public Schools.

Lincoln County exceeded the state average in all but one of the21 tested areas on the MCT and five of the six areas tested in thehigh school Subject Area Testing Program.

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The state average mean score for eighth-grade math was 588.5,and Lincoln County posted a 585 district average. At the highschool level, the district’s 88.1 percent of students passing theEnglish II informative writing assessment fell shy of the state’s91 percent average.

In all other areas, however, the district exceeded the stateaverage. In some areas, there was a significant difference inscores, such as seventh-grade reading, where the district’s meanscore of 560 was far higher than the state average of 545.4.

“Part of testing is to see where you are – where you’ve donewell and where you can improve,” Falvey said.

In contrast, although Brookhaven Public Schools showed “great”increases across the board, Superintendent Lea Barrett said resultscould have been better.

“I’m not satisfied,” she said. “I won’t be satisfied until wehave every student at 100 percent. However, the thing I am reallypleased at is that we are seeing a steady and consistent growth inthe percentage of children that are proficient and advanced in allareas at Brookhaven High School and Brookhaven Elementary(School).”

Brookhaven schools were below the state average in one-third ofthe tested areas on the MCT and SATP scores. However, in many casesthe shortage was slight, such as in second-grade reading where theywas only a shortfall of 0.1.

“I think we can do better, and I also think the things we haveput in place are going to show big payoffs on next year’s scores,”Barrett said.

Testing results in Lawrence County Public School District weresimilar to those in Brookhaven, with six of the 21 MCT tested areasfalling short of the state averages, several of them marginally.However, at the high school level only Biology I exceeded the stateaverage.

“We realize there are areas of deficiency that we need toaddress, but we’re pleased with the number of areas that we met orexceeded the state average,” Superintendent Russell Caudillsaid.

Success in the lower grades, where Topeka-Tilton AttendanceCenter attained Level 5 honors this year, were somewhat offset bySATP scores, he said.

“We are making changes in the curriculum this year to addressthose areas where we didn’t meet state averages,” Caudill said.

Franklin County Superintendent Lona Thomas said she was also notsatisfied with the MCT scores but not displeased.

“Our test scores are not as good as we wanted them to be, butthey are higher than expected,” she said.

School officials there already have held one meeting and othersare planned to examine the curriculum and determine where changesshould be made, Thomas said.

The district failed to meet the state average in five of sixSATP scores.

“Our writing is our weakest area, and we’re making changes tocorrect that,” she said.

Copiah County schools failed to meet the state average in anycategory of the MCT and in half of the SATP tested areas.

Wesson Attendance Center, however, only failed to meet the stateaverage in two areas of the MCT and excelled in SATP scores -scoring 100 percent in U.S. History and Biology I.

“We’re very pleased. Our teachers and students did a great job.We’re very proud,” Wesson Attendance Center Principal Billy Brittsaid.