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Test scores show mostly strong totals

Brookhaven High School students scored higher than stateaverages in three of four subjects on statewide tests last spring,and the city district’s younger students mixed it up with statestandards in proficiency as well.

BHS students who took the Subject Area Testing Program – anextensive examination necessary for graduation – earlier thisspring recorded a passing rate of 92.4 percent in Biology I,besting the state science average of 86.2 percent passing by 6.2points, the largest margin recorded at the high school. Locally,the biology scores also improved by 4 percentage points over lastyear’s effort, where 88.4 percent of students recorded passinggrades.

“Every kid who entered our building last year took scienceskills,” said BHS Principal Dr. Jay Smith. “Basically, they had ayear of science instruction before they took the biology exam. Youhave to do a lot of juggling with the master schedule, but thesescores, I think, are a direct result of that.”

Students at BHS also overcame the state average in Algebra I of79.6 percent passing by one percentage point, with 80.6 percent ofpassing. The margin was smaller in U.S. History, but the outcomestill satisfactory, with 93.6 percent of students passing the U.S.History portion of the SATP, an increase over the state average of0.6 percentage points.

The high school’s only weak spot on the SATP was English II, asubject which sees the lowest scores statewide year after year.Only 65.9 percent of students recorded passing grades on theEnglish test, 2.1 points less than the state average of 68 percentpassing. Additionally, the high school’s score was a setback fromlast year, falling by 3.6 points from the 2009 score of 69.5percent passing.

“The English II test is by far the hardest test we give,” Smithsaid. “We’re going to assess what we did last year and see what wecan improve upon. It’s not magic, it’s just grinding hardwork.”

The district’s elementary and middle school students are shapingup a proficient crop to send to Smith in the coming years, with theyounger students in grades three through eight beating stateaverages on the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition in 11categories of proficient and advanced, falling just shy of the markin 13 categories.

The highest scores were generated at Brookhaven ElementarySchool, where 67.3 percent of the third-grade class scoredproficient or advanced scores in mathematics. A total of 51.2percent of those students scored proficient marks on the test,while 16.1 percent tallied advanced scores – the highest percentageof advanced scores seen in all six grades tested inmathematics.

Those same third-graders also claimed the highest number ofadvanced scores on the language arts portion of the exam, with 18.6percent of the class scoring in that category.

But Lipsey School’s fifth-graders claimed overall success inlanguage arts, with 66.1 percent scoring proficient and advanced. Atest-leading 49.6 percent of those students scored in theproficient category – the highest proficiency numbers among thosetested – and the class’s 16.5 percent advanced marks were secondbest.

The lowest-scoring students taking the MCT2 were AlexanderJunior High School’s eighth-graders, who tallied the lowestcombined scores in proficiency. Only 30.8 percent of those studentsscored proficient in language arts, while only 2.3 percent weregraded advanced on the same tests. Both tallies were the lowestrecorded on both halves of the test in all six grades.

Additionally, 22.2 percent of the class scored in the minimalrange on the language arts exam, the highest percentage of lowscores for that test in all six grades.