High school students within the Lowndes County School District and the former Starkville district scored above the state average on English and algebra assessments, while Columbus Municipal School District students scored below state averages.
The Mississippi Department of Education on Thursday released results from the first and only round of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) assessments. The test was taken by students during the 2014-2015 school year.
This school year, students will be taking a new exam called Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP).
Students were scored proficiency on the Algebra 1 and English II tests and were categorized Levels 1-5 signifying minimal, partial, adequate, strong and distinguished understanding.
According to PARCC, the students scoring at Level 4 or 5 meet or exceed expectations. Students scoring at Level 3 are approaching expectations. Students scoring a Level 1 or 2 need more assistance to master the concepts.
At Columbus Municipal School District, only 6.2 percent of students earned a “strong” score on the Algebra 1 test and none reached a Level 5, while 28.2 percent of CHS students were at Level 4-5 on the English exam.
In both exams, CMSD performed well under the state average of 27 percent “strong” or better on Algebra 1, and 48 percent scoring Level 4 or 5 on English II.
Superintendent Dr. Philip Hickman this morning said he had expected low scores during the first couple years of his tenure as superintendent, but believes the district is on the way to closing the gap. He said because the PARCC is only being used for one year, it’s hard to take much away from the results to apply going forward.
“We definitely started in August with a new instructional model to prepare our students,” he said. “This year, we feel our students are doing better.”
Lowndes County School District slightly outperformed state averages on both exams. Nearly 30 percent of LCSD students achieved a Level 4 or 5 score in Algebra 1, three points above the state average of 27 percent.
LCSD had a majority of its students score a Level 4 or 5 on the English II exam at 59 percent — 10 percent more than the state average of 49 percent.
In Starkville School District, scores were above average. Starkville preformed well on the Algebra 1 exam, where 43 percent of students had a “strong” score or better. Just over 50 percent of Starkville High students scored a Level 4 or 5 English score.
State officials anticipated scores to be down this year in the first year of the testing aligned with Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards.
“The PARCC assessments were more demanding than previous state tests,” Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said. “The test results today mark a new starting point for our students and we expect test scores to increase over time. These tests required students to solve problems and explain their answers at a much higher level than previous state tests that were mainly multiple choice.”
PARCC assessments for students in grades three through eight will be released in mid-December.
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