Area schools see mixed results in state testing – West Lincoln posts good overall scores

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 18, 2006

Several area schools received high marks based on 2005-2006Mississippi Curriculum Test results released today, but some othersstruggled in a few areas.

According to Mississippi Department of Education figuresreleased today, West Lincoln was rated among the best schoolsstatewide in six categories based on the number of students testingas proficient or advanced, and Enterprise Attendance Center placedamong that august field in one category.

Topeka-Tilton Attendance Center in Lawrence County also placedamong top schools in three categories.

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Hazlehurst Middle School and McComb Middle School, however,posted the worst percentage of proficient students in at least onecategory.

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 used as part of aformula to tabulate Adequate Yearly Progress, a key element in theNo Child Left Behind Act.

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, all students are evaluatedand placed within four major categories that determine theirproficiency — minimal, basic, proficient and advanced. Alldistricts much move their students from the minimal and basiccategories to the proficient or advanced levels by 2014 or facefederal sanctions.

West Lincoln joined Orange Lake Elementary School in Moss Pointin topping all state schools by posting 100 percent in eitherproficient or advanced placement in grade 6 reading. West Lincoln’ssixth grade also tested well in math by achieving 97.4 percent,making it fifth in the state.

West Lincoln was one of six schools to post 100 percentproficiency in grade 5 math and one of 10 to achieve the sameresult in grades 4 and 5 reading.

West Lincoln and Enterprise both tested 82.7 percentproficiencies in grade 7 reading, tying them for sixth in thestate.

“I’m very pleased with the percentage of our growth in thenumber of advanced scores,” said Richelle Ratcliff, curriculumcoordinator for the Lincoln County School District. “There was alot of movement from proficient to advanced. Our percentage ofminimal students did decrease, so we did well there, too. That’swhat we’ve been working toward. We’re moving that way.”

In Lawrence County, Topeka-Tilton had the highest percentage ofproficient students in the state in grade 8 math at 92.6 percent.Grade 8 also place 10th in the state in reading with a 77.8 percentwhile grade 6 tied with two other schools in math at 100 percent totop the state.

Brookhaven School District Superintendent Lea Barrett said noneof the district’s schools may have placed in the top 10 in thestate in proficiency rankings, but did well overall.

“I am very encouraged by our score overall, and I am thrilled byour ACT scores,” she said. “We saw some pretty good gains in somespecific target areas.”

However, Barrett took exception to a chart appearing in today’sThe Clarion-Ledger that lists Lipsey Middle School as oneof the worst in grade 4 reading in proficiency. It misrepresentsthe school, she said.

“That’s a prime example of people listing numbers when theydon’t know what the numbers mean,” she said. “Lipsey is a grade 5and 6 school. Lipsey’s scores are some of the best in this districtand have showed a considerable and steady growth in the 5th and 6thgrade. Those scores improve every year.”

The 4th grade results at Lipsey are 11 students in a special”fast-track” program designed to target weaknesses, she said.Several of the students in that class were among the 212 HurricaneKatrina evacuees who joined the school following the storm, amajority of which were from New Orleans.

“By and large, they were severely behind on the Mississippicurriculum when we got them,” Barrett said.

Three area schools, however, had some difficulty in mathproficiency.

Hazlehurst Middle School tested among the bottom 10 in grades 6through 8. Grade 6 was third from last.

McComb Middle School fared poorly in grade 5 math, placing lastin the state.

The McComb School District also has the distinction of being theonly area school to place a school among the worst at the highschool level.

McComb High School tested among the worst 10 schools in math onthe Subject Area Test Program for Algebra I. Students scored anaverage mean of 307.3, well below the state mean of 352.2.

Editor’s Note: A series breaking down the scores of eachdistrict at all grades is scheduled to begin Sunday in The DAILYLEADER.