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County schools perform above state averages

Lincoln County School District exceeded the state average in allbut one of the 21 tested areas on the Mississippi Curriculum Testand in five of the six areas tested in high school Subject AreaTesting Program, according to figures released by the stateDepartment of Education last week.

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articlesexamining in detail by school district the Mississippi CurriculumTest and Subject Area Test Program results announced recently.Other districts will follow.

“Overall, we’re happy with the results, and we feel we did wellwhen compared to the state,” said Bruce Falvey, district testingcoordinator.

The MCT tests every student in grades two through eight inreading, language arts and mathematics skills. Besides providingeducators and the public with a glimpse at how their schoolscompare with others in the state, the scores are also used as partof a formula to tabulate “adequate yearly progress,” a key elementin the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Those results will bereleased in September.

Under No Child Left Behind, all students are evaluated andplaced within four major categories that determine theirproficiency – minimal, basic, proficient or advanced. All districtsmuch move their students from the minimal and basic categories tothe proficient or advanced levels by 2014 or face federalsanctions.

Eighth-grade mathematics was the one area of the MCT in whichLincoln County did not meet the state average mean score of 588.5.The county posted a district mean score of 585.

West Lincoln Attendance Center was the only school in thedistrict to beat the state average in eighth-grade math. Theschool’s mean score of 602.6 was more than 14 points higher thanthe state average. Enterprise eighth-graders posted the lowest mathscores with an average of 572.9.

“Traditionally, seventh- and eighth-grade students are some ofthe hardest to raise to meet the requirements,” Falvey said. “Iguess it’s adolescence. It’s just a tough time for students.”

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 560 meanscore was far higher than the state average of 545.4.

At the high school level, the district’s 88.1 percent ofstudents passing the English II informative writing assessment fellshy of the state’s 91 percent average.

Falvey the district has a high number of students passing in allSATP areas. But officials are not satisfied with the scores, hesaid.

“Even though they’re passing, we would like to improve thosescores,” he said.

Learning of deficiencies in eighth-grade math and English IIinformative writing aside as well as learning of the successes inother grades and categories is what the testing is all about,Falvey said.

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