Public school test scores
expected to improve this year
SCHOOL DISCUSSION Susan Rucker, center, associate state superintendent for innovation and school improvement, talks with Tommy Little, president of Parents for Public Schools, and Sharon Futch, the organization's vice president. The three held a town meeting Tuesday at Union Station. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
May 28, 2003
The associate state superintendent of education came to Meridian on Tuesday to let people know that standardized public school test scores will likely improve across Mississippi this year.
But few people turned out at Union Station to hear Susan Rucker speak. The crowd of about 25 people mainly included public school teachers, school administrators, district employees and city officials.
Thomas said he believes most people in Meridian are too complacent and think all is well with the Meridian school district. Thomas also was concerned by the lack of minorities at the meeting.
Rucker, invited to Meridian by the local chapter of Parents for Public Schools, discussed the Mississippi public school accountability system and the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.
Much of her talk, however, was about the accountability system and standardized test scores.
She focused on the highly anticipated test scores for the Mississippi Curriculum Test a standardized reading, language and math test second- through eighth-graders took statewide in May.
Scores from this year's test will be released to schools in July. They will be used to determine first-year accreditation levels for all elementary and middle schools in Meridian and Lauderdale County.
School districts will receive score reports for individual students, classes, schools and their entire district on July 8.
A month later, the state Department of Education will determine how much improvement is expected at each school. The department also will name Priority Schools, those considered the lowest-performing.
In September, the state Department of Education will begin working with Priority Schools. The department also will publicly release test scores and accreditation levels for the entire state broken down by individual schools.
This year was not the first for the Mississippi Curriculum Test.
Students also took the test last year, and those results were used to assign preliminary accreditation levels for elementary and middle schools. Six Meridian schools were rated Level 1, or low-performing.
Although Rucker said she expects test scores to improve in Meridian, she estimates that only one in eight schools in Mississippi will actually show improvement in accreditation levels.
Thomas said he is concerned with Rucker's estimation because of Meridian's six Level 1 schools.