Test Scores

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Closer study of test scores shows more are ‘proficient’

By Rita Howell

Students in the South Panola and North Panola School Districts generally showed improvement in recently-released state test scores over their performance from the previous year.

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Comparing  the Mississippi Curriculum Test, 2nd Edition (MCT-2) scores from the 2008-09 school year with scores from last spring’s tests, middle school and junior high classes in the South Panola district made strides in increasing the numbers of students who demonstrated they were “proficient” in their knowledge of language arts and mathematics.

The proficient level indicates solid academic performance in that subject. (In the scoring levels “proficient” is followed by “advanced” and preceded by “minimal” and “basic.”)

The State Department of Education administers the MCT-2 in grades three through eight, and four Subject Area Tests for high school students. The scores are among the components used in the state’s yearly assessment of individual schools.

Assessment results, including the ranking of each school, will be released September 10. Schools are labeled at one of seven levels, from failing to high performing.

2010 MCT-2 scores

reflect improvement

The test results released on August 20 showed 50 percent of last year’s South Panola eighth graders (students at Pope Junior High and Batesville Junior High) scored at the proficient level on the math portion of the MCT-2. That percentage is higher that the statewide average.

 The year before, as seventh graders, 43.6 percent of those SP students had demonstrated a proficient knowledge of that subject.

However, the same group of students lost ground on the language arts portion of the test, with 9.2 percent fewer students scoring proficient this year. Of that group, 44.5 percent had scored proficient in 2009, and in the 2010 testing, 35.3 percent demonstrated proficiency in language arts.

Only one other class in the South Panola district fell short of their previous year’s score at the proficient level: last year’s fifth graders, who had 3.5 percent fewer class members scoring proficient on the math segment than from the year before.

A total of 6.2 percent more South Panola sixth graders showed proficiency in language arts last spring over their previous year’s performance. That same class had 6.3 percent more members scoring proficient in math last spring.

While South Panola classes showed single-digit increases, scores from the North Panola district reflected double-digit improvement in one class, last year’s fifth graders. On the MCT-2 math portion, this class had 40.2 percent of its members scoring proficient, showing almost a 20 percent increase in the number of students showing solid academic performance. In the language arts portion, this class had 27.4 percent of its members scoring proficient, over a ten-percent increase over the previous year’s performance.

North Panola’s seventh grade class from last year increased its proficient-scoring group by 10.9 percent on the math test. In all, 33.3 percent of that class scored at the proficient level.

More SPHS students

proficient in math

At South Panola High School more students scored at the proficient level in three of the four subjects tested last spring over the previous year. The most improvement was reflected in the Algebra I test, with 78 percent of students scoring proficient. In 2009, 70 percent had scored proficient.

In the biology test, 80 percent of SPHS students scored proficient last spring, while 75 percent had achieved that level the previous year.

In English II, 58 percent of SPHS students scored proficient in 2010. In 2009, 54 percent had shown solid performance.

In U.S. History, the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level fell from 74 percent in 2009 to 55 percent in 2010.

At North Panola High School, students improved their percentage of students scoring proficient in three of the four test subjects. The highest increase was in students demonstrating solid performance in English II. In 2009, 21 percent of those tested scored proficient; of those tested in the spring of 2010, 34 percent scored proficient. In algebra, 40 percent scored proficient in 2009 and 49 percent in 2010. In biology, more students scored proficient in 2010 than in 2009. The percentages were 64 and 56, respectively.

But NPHS students fell in proficient scoring for U.S. History, with 50 percent making that grade in 2009, and 27 percent scoring at that level last spring.