Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Albert Perkins with the Panola County Sheriff’s Department gets the crowd pumped for the upcoming MCT2 Tests at the Batesville Middle School. The Panolian photo by Emily Williams

Public schools begin state testing with MCT2 today

By Rita Howell  and Emily Williams

This week public school students in grades 3-8 across the state are taking the MCT2 standardized tests.

Students will be tested in reading today, writing on Wednesday and math on Thursday.

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In the South Panola district the tests will be administered to 2,118 students at Batesville Intermediate, Batesville Middle, Batesville Junior High and Pope School. In the North Panola district, about 730 students at Green Hill, Crenshaw, Como Elementary and North Panola Junior High will be tested.

At Batesville Middle School last Friday, fourth and fifth graders gathered at the football stadium for a pep rally to raise enthusiasm for the approaching MCT2 tests. Principal Dr. Carol Gary had assembled motivational speakers and faculty “cheerleaders” to encourage the students.

“If you want something bad enough you have to fight for it,” pastor Fish Robinson of Oxford told the children. “These tests at this age will determine how successful you’re going to be…”

Billy Brown, director of the local Let’s Talk It Out youth ministry, advised the students, “Pray, concentrate and take your time. No one is better, no one is cooler; challenge yourselves.”

The annual Mississippi Department of Education academic assessment also includes science tests for fifth and eighth graders, which were administered last week across the state.

High school students were tested in U.S. History, Algebra I, English II and Biology in state testing May 1-4. Students must pass those subject area tests to qualify for high school graduation.

Results of the state assessments are used to evaluate the academic performance of individual schools through the Mississippi Statewide Accountability System. Schools are rated Failing,  At Risk of Failing, Low Performing, Academic Watch, Successful, High Performing, and Star School.

In the South Panola District, based on last year’s statewide assessments, the schools are rated as follows: South Panola High School, High Performing; Batesville Junior High, Academic Watch; Batesville Middle School, Academic Watch;   Pope School, Academic Watch. The district as a whole is rated Academic Watch.

The North Panola School District, currently under state conservatorship for poor academic performance, is rated Low Performing, though two schools in the district showed some progress following last year’s testing, which resulted in Successful labels going to North Panola High School and Crenshaw Elementary.

Green Hill Elementary and Como Elementary are rated  Academic Watch; North Panola Junior High is labeled Low Performing .

Preliminary test results will be released in July and schools will receive new ratings afterward.

The South Panola School District serves more than 4,500 students. The North Panola School District serves more than 1,600.

No early dismissal today

Because of the state testing today, the South Panola Schools will dismiss at 3 p.m. instead of following the early dismissal schedule that is normally in place on Tuesdays.