County schools’ test results varied

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 31, 2009

Just as the Lincoln County School District overall experiencedhighs and lows on the statewide issuance of the Subject Area TestProgram and Mississippi Curriculum Test 2 examinations earlier thisyear, so too did the four schools making up the district.

The strongest performing students in the district were those ofWest Lincoln Attendance Center, who beat state averages in all foursubjects of the SATP and crushed state averages on the MCT2.Students exceeded the percentage of proficient and advanced scorestallied by students in grades three through eight statewide in allbut one of 24 scoring columns.

“West Lincoln has been the most consistent school,” saidSuperintendent Terry Brister. “Their community, administration,faculty and students have bought in as a group. They have succeededand succeeded early, and success have given way to moresuccess.”

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Brister and other local school officials who pore over theresults are not necessarily looking at test score percentages, butchecking to see which schools experienced improvement of theprevious year. The district’s lowest-scoring schools – Bogue Chittoand Enterprise – experienced the highest growth.

“We are seeking growth, and that’s what we’re seeing,” Bristersaid. “I’m proud West Lincoln does well because it challenges theother three schools to do it. And they are meeting the challenge,they are coming.”

On the SATP, which is issued to high school students accordingto the pace of their curriculum, West Lincoln students turned indistrict-high scores in Algebra I, Biology I and English II. Theschool’s math score of 90.2 percent passing blew away the stateaverage of 72 percent by 18.2 percent, the widest margin amongcounty schools.

West Lincoln’s elementary and middle school students also turnedin impressive scores on the MCT2, which is issued to students ingrades three through eight as a means of measuring a school’scurriculum and teaching methods.

High scores on the MCT2 include 52.4 percent of fourth-gradersscoring advanced on the language arts portion of the test and 75.8percent of seventh-graders scoring proficient on the math portion.None of the 62 seventh-graders tested in math turned in minimalscores, and 93.5 percent scored proficient and advanced.

The students of Loyd Star Attendance Center tallied thesecond-highest set of test scores in the district, beating stateaverages in two of the four SATP subjects and outscoring stateaverages in 10 of 24 scoring columns on the MCT2.

Loyd Star students beat SATP state averages in English II by 2.8percent, with 71.8 percent passing, and outpaced U.S. History stateaverages by 1.8 percent, with 98.7 percent passing.

The school’s average in Algebra I, however, was 55.9 percentpassing, below the state average by 16.1 percent. Biology Iaverages also fell below the state average of 87.6 percent passingby 7.6 percent.

Loyd Star’s MCT2 highlights belonged to its sixth-graders, whobeat the state proficiency average on the math portion of the testby 12.2 percent, with 54.9 percent scoring proficient. The sameclass also outpaced the state proficiency average on the languagearts portion of the test by 11.9 percent, scoring 57.7 percentpassing. However, no sixth- or seventh-grade students at Loyd Starrecorded advanced scores on the language arts portion of the MCT2,and no seventh- or eighth-grade students were marked advanced onthe math portion.

The third-highest scoring students in Lincoln County were thoseof Enterprise Attendance Center, although they bested only one SATPstate average.

Enterprise students beat the state average in Biology I by 4.4percent, with 92 percent passing. They came close to reaching stateaverages in U.S. History and English II, but fell short by 1.2 and1.9 percent, respectively. The school’s widest gulf between stateaverages was in Algebra I, where local students missed the stateaverage by 9.5 percent.

Enterprise’s younger students scored proficient and advancedaverages in 12 of 24 MCT2 scoring columns, with 83.9 percent offifth-graders scoring proficient and advanced marks on the mathportion of the test. Additionally, Enterprise fifth-graders beatthe state proficiency average in math by 18.9 percent.

Bogue Chitto Attendance Center students outscored only one stateaverage on the SATP and beat state averages on only seven of 24proficient and advanced scoring columns on the MCT.

Bogue Chitto’s only SATP score that outpaced the state averagewas in the state’s lowest-scoring subject, English II. Bogue Chittostudents beat the state average of 69 percent passing by 3.5percent, with 72.5 percent passing.

The school’s scores on the test’s other three subjects were wellbelow state averages. The 44 students who took the Algebra Iportion of the test turned in a district-low score of 45.5 percentpassing, falling short of the state average by 26.5 percent – thebiggest difference between local and state averages recorded in thedistrict.

Bogue Chitto’s younger students scored poorly on the MCT2,turning in a district high – or low, depending on the perspective -of 39.6 percent of seventh-graders scoring only minimal on the mathportion of the test. Eighth-graders taking the math portion scoredthe district’s second-lowest total, with 33.3 percent scoringminimal.

“Our schools as a whole did well, but each school has individualneeds, and we work hard to ensure all needs are met at eachschool,” said Richelle Ratcliff, the district’s director ofcurriculum. “We’re looking at data and scheduling, targeting theareas that need improvement and providing additional support toensure our schools succeed.”

Despite low scores, Enterprise experienced the most growth, withthree out of four SATP subjects improving in 2009. The school’sonly subject that fell since 2008 was Algebra I, which decreased2.7 percent. Enterprise’s U.S. History scores improved most, comingup 4.8 percent.

Bogue Chitto, meanwhile, also experienced growth in three offour SATP subjects, with only Biology I falling since last year.The school’s students saw their highest gain in English II, wherethe 2008 score was improved by 3.6 percent this year. The drop inBiology I since 2008, however, was a significant 20.8 percent.

Loyd Star’s SATP growth over last year was flat, with twosubjects improving and two regressing. Algebra I and U.S. Historyscored improved, with Algebra I scored coming up by 10.9 percent,but Biology I and English II scored dropped, with English II scorescoming down by 6.8 percent.

And West Lincoln, the district’s highest-scoring school foryears, experienced the least amount of growth, with only onesubject improving and three coming down. The school’s U.S. Historyscores improved by 2.5 percent this year, but English II scoresdropped by 11 percent.