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County sees state test progress

The 2010-11 state testing scores forschools across Mississippi are in, and Lincoln County SchoolDistrict students have left Superintendent Terry Brister”well-pleased with the progress” and proud of his administration’sand teachers’ efforts to improve academic achievement.

    “Especially with grades three through eight,” Brister said. “Thoughwe’d like to see better results from the junior high level at allschools.”

    At the secondary level, Brister said he is impressed with students’scores in Mathematics and English portions of the state’s SubjectArea Testing Program (SATP).

    Brister and Curriculum Director Richelle Ratcliff explained thedistrict put a lot of effort into improving math scores over thelast few years.

    “We’ve focused a lot on math, and we’re starting to seeimprovements,” Ratcliff said.

    Ratcliff said it takes a few years of consistent focus and hardwork before scores reflect how students are advancing in certainareas.

    “Teachers meet together, and they make sure that students areprepared for the next year,” Ratcliff said. “The teachers reallydid outstanding work to bring success.”

    Brister said efforts to improve the district’s scores are always a”continual work in progress.”

    “We’re doing everything just as we have been,” he said. “It’s anongoing thing that changes with every year. Never do you have itright, and never do you have 100 percent in all areas. You justhave to keep monitoring and keep adapting and adjusting.

    “What works one year may not work next year,” he continued. “Butour consistency and expectations stay the same, and they’re gearedtoward success and having a positive attitude.”

    The percentage of students who passed the Algebra I portion of theSATP for 2010-11 was 83.5, compared to 66.1 the year before. In theEnglish II area, 77.3 percent passed compared to 69.2 percent in2009-10.

    U.S. History scores on the SATP for 2010-11 had 93.8 percent of allstudents passing, down slightly from the prior 96.2 percent whopassed.

    Scores for grades three through eight showed improvements in someareas as well. For example, the percentage of students achievingthe basic, proficient or advanced level in mathematics increased ineach grade throughout the district.

    Language Arts scores are also notable, increasing in grades sixthrough eight, staying the same in grade five, dropping twopercentage points in grade four and dropping one percentage pointin grade three.

    Although Brister and Ratcliff said they would like to seeimprovements at the junior high level, they acknowledged thosescores seem to be a trend across the state.

    “That seems to be a state issue,” Brister said. “There are so manychallenges at that level and a lot of adjusting to do at that age.But they come out of it in the ninth grade as quickly as they gointo it in the seventh.”

    Brister credited the efforts of administrations and teachers ateach school in the district for the successes of the students.

    “Our success and continued improvement is a direct result of thehard work of teachers and administrators,” Brister said. “Our goalsand expectations will not fall short of success, and we will alwaysstrive to reach that.”