Good teachers + strong curriculum + great reading habits = perfect MCT scores

with Thomas Wells photo

12040607 Mikayla Johnson

Mooreville Elementary student Mikayla Johnson made a perfect score in reading, language and math on the 2006 Mississippi Curriculum Test. Her mother attributes part of her success to Mikayla’s love of reading.

Tupelo and Lee County students who made perfect scores in reading, language and math on the Mississippi Curriculum Test, and the school they attended last year, are:

– Elizabeth Brevard, Tupelo Middle School

– Frank Brinkley, Saltillo Elementary

– Lauren Carter, Parkway Elementary

– Haley Cook, Parkway Elementary

– Walker Fortenberry, Parkway Elementary

– Katherine Holliman, Church Street Elementary

– Bridgette Hughes, Saltillo Primary School

– Mikayla Johnson, Mooreville Elementary School

– Alexander Nadler, Tupelo Middle School

– Emma Rice, Church Street Elementary

– Richard Nance, Joyner Elementary

– Jack Simmons, Saltillo Primary School

– Jamie Smith, Lawhon Elementary

– Steven Walden, Tupelo Middle School

– Caleb Webb, Saltillo Primary School

Good teachers + strong curriculum + great reading habits = perfect MCT scores

– 15 Tupelo and Lee County students earned perfect scores on the test last spring.

By Ginny Miller

Daily Journal

In the Tupelo and Lee County public schools, district officials have discovered not one, not two, but 15 students who earned perfect scores on the 2006 Mississippi Curriculum Test.

“I think it’s a combination of the students, the teachers and the parents,” said Linda Clifton, principal of Tupelo Middle School.

Three of Clifton’s former students, now freshmen at Tupelo High School, earned perfect scores on the MCT, which they took last spring as eighth-graders.

The MCT tests students in grades 2-8 in reading, language and math, measuring their knowledge against a curriculum set by the Mississippi Department of Education. Test scores tell whether students are minimal, basic, proficient or advanced in subject areas, and scores also factor into the accreditation of schools statewide.

In addition to a rigorous curriculum at TMS, Clifton also noted that a love of reading contributes to student achievement. “They usually are avid readers, and reading is promoted in the home,” she said.

That’s the case in Jack Simmons’ home, mom Jenny Simmons said.

“Jack likes to read encyclopedias,” she said. “For Christmas he’ll ask for a game or two, but he usually asks for books.”

Jack is a third-grader at Saltillo Elementary but was a second-grader at Saltillo Primary when he took the MCT last year. “He does well in school,” Simmons said, “but I think his teacher did a good job of preparing them.”

Last year, Kay Davis taught Jack along with perfect scorers Bridgette Hughes and Caleb Webb.

“Kay Davis’ student success can be attributed to her willingness to adjust her teaching methods to meet the ability levels of all of her students,” said Dr. Candace Moore, the school’s assistant principal. “Saltillo Primary School has an excellent faculty who continuously self-evaluate and seek professional development. This degree of commitment ensures that all of our students are successful learners.”

At Mooreville Elementary, fourth-grader Mikayla Johnson also earned a perfect score on the MCT. She loves to read and last year won an award for devouring 429 titles in her school’s Accelerated Reader program.

When asked what her secret to a high MCT score is, Mikayla isn’t sure. “I don’t know. I just went to bed earlier and ate a big breakfast,” she said.

Whatever the reason, perfect scores on all content areas of the MCT aren’t an everyday thing. “It’s not that common,” said Becky Hendrix, testing coordinator for Lee County Schools. “Not everybody does that.”

In Tupelo, district officials also reported that 200 students earned perfect scores on the math portion of the test.

Contact Daily Journal education writer Ginny Miller at or 678-1582.

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