Region, state test scores show few gains this year

The majority of Northeast Mississippi schools are near or better than the state average in state test scores released today, but results don’t show much improvement from the previous year.
“At the state level, the improvements were small,” said Kris Kaase, deputy state superintendent of instruction and curriculum. “The small improvement seems to indicate that increasing student achievement on the more rigorous curriculum will require more than an incremental change in what we are doing in the schools.”
But there are bright spots in the test results from the 2008-2009 school year.
“We do have some areas we can improve in, but overall we’re extremely pleased with test scores,” said Superintendent Rickey Neaves of the Booneville School District, which had among the top results in the state.
“We have lots of good students, teachers doing a wonderful job and a community that supports education.”
This year, the Mississippi Curriculum Test, second edition, along with subject area tests, graduation rates and growth, count toward new accountability ratings.
Instead of shooting for a Level 4 or 5 rating, districts and schools now aim to be a High Performing or Star School. Those ratings will be announced in late October.
And just like the MCT2 tests, the standards are getting more rigorous.
“The high band of successful is at the national average, once it’s fully phased in,” said Amory Superintendent Gearl Loden said. “The expectations have changed.”
Amory Schools’ test scores generally came in just ahead or just below of state averages. The district’s best results came in eighth-grade math, fifth and eighth grade science, U.S. History and English II tests.
“We feel like we have a good plan in place,” Loden said. “We’ve shown growth.”

On the net: Mississippi Department of Education scores, Click here for scores.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal