MPS students post gains
By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
July 27, 2002
Meridian public school students performed better this year on a standardized statewide test that measures classroom progress in reading, language and math.
Students in the second through eighth grades took the Mississippi Curriculum Test for the second year last spring. Test results will be used to rate schools beginning in fall 2003.
The Mississippi Department of Education released statewide MCT results late Thursday.
The MCT will be used to measure the level of performance of elementary students and their schools. The practice of assigning performance levels to schools is expected to start in fall 2003.
Low results could lead to changes in a particular school's leadership and its classroom teachers.
McLin spent part of Friday explaining test results for Meridian public schools. Analyzed test results were unavailable Friday for schools in the Lauderdale County School District.
Meridian test results showed that the biggest improvement came in math scores for fourth-graders 58 percent of them performed at or above grade level in this year compared to 48.7 percent in 2001.
Another large increase saw fourth-grade language skills improve from 43 percent at or above grade level in 2001 to 53 percent this year.
At the same time, some scores fell. Reading scores for eighth-graders showed that 37 percent performed at or above grade level, down from 50 percent in 2001.
On a school-by-school basis, Harris Upper Elementary School showed the most improvement by increasing scores in all test areas.
State Superintendent of Education Richard L. Thompson said the MCT is important because it will help establish benchmark levels of accreditation for schools beginning in 2003.
Priority schools will receive extra help and evaluation from the state to improve performance. If test scores don't improve after a two year probationary period, teachers and administrators could be replaced.
A preliminary list the Mississippi Department of Education issued before the 2002 MCT test scores were released named Harris Upper Elementary and Witherspoon Elementary as possible priority schools.
Test scores also improved this year at Witherspoon Elementary.
Jones credited teachers working together and sharing their strengths and expertise as one reason Harris' scores improved.