Superintendent: Natchez students hold their own on standardized tests

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 5, 2000

Average test scores for Natchez-Adams schools were several points below the state on spring standardized tests, but Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis said students held their own.

&uot;We made a very good stand. We scored well,&uot; Davis said. &uot;I’m pleased with what we did. We held our own.&uot;

The district’s third- through eighth-graders took the Terra Nova tests in math, reading and language in May with scores being released this week.

Email newsletter signup

Scores ranged from 37.5 for seventh-grade math to 46.6 for eighth-grade language.

Last year was the first time Mississippi students took the Terra Nova test. The scores indicate student performance compared to a statistical sampling of students from across the nation.

The national average for all test categories is a 50 on a 99-point scale with Mississippi scoring in the high 40s or low 50s in most statewide categories.

State Superintendent Richard Thompson said Mississippi students scored slightly above national averages in five of the 18 individual categories in reading and language.

While, the Natchez-Adams School District scores trailed behind the state, with average scores ranging from 41 to 45 in most subject areas.

But Davis said the Natchez district stopped a slight downward trend he saw in standardized test scores when he became superintendent in January 1999.

&uot;We stopped that&uot; downward trend, Davis said. &uot;Now we need to build back up.&uot;

Those scores also make Natchez-Adams a solid 3.0 district again, Davis said.

A 3.0 is the lowest ranking a state district can receive and still be rated successful on a scale of one to five. Schools which score below 3.0 are in danger of state intervention.

The scores are also comparable to other districts similar to Natchez, such as Amite, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties, Davis said.

&uot;We know that we’re on the right track, and we have some more work to do,&uot;&160;Davis said. &uot;We are an improving school district that’s in reform.&uot;

Natchez school officials want to improve test scores by focusing on exit skills — the skills the state requires each student to master to advance to the next grade.

For example, Natchez students now take district-written exit-skills tests three times a year, to help teachers assess weak areas for each child, based on state guidelines and next year Mississippi students will also take a test aligned with the state’s curriculum.