WCHS scores improve

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2003

WOODVILLE &045;&045; Students at Wilkinson County High School significantly improved their scores on the math and science portions of this year’s Mississippi Subject Area Testing Program.

Still, more improvement is needed to meet the norm for students across the state, according to data recently released by the state Department of Education.

Of the 99 WCHS ninth graders who took the SATP Algebra I test last spring, 67.7 percent passed.

Email newsletter signup

That number nearly doubled from 34.2 percent in 2002 but still falls short of the state-wide 81.9 percent passing mark.

Wilkinson County School Superintendent Mildred McGhee said staff development and earlier detection of math weaknesses among students are keys to improving the test scores.

&uot;Sometimes, the problem may not show up until Algebra I.

We’re using a math computer lab at the middle school level now, and we’re continuing to emphasize staff development district-wide at all grade levels,&uot; McGhee said.

WCHS sophomores also showed a marked improvement on the Biology I component of the SATP.

Of the 104 tenth graders who took the test, 54.8 percent passed. That number is up from 45.9 percent last year but still far below the 86.5 percent that passed the test state-wide.

&uot;We are going to have to start emphasizing science more at the elementary and junior high levels,&uot; McGhee said, adding that test scores do not identify all of the problems that may contribute to low performance. &uot;In biology, we were without a teacher for half the year last year.

I’m not saying that’s why more students didn’t pass the test, but

that’s an in-house problem that we can work on. You can’t prevent a person from becoming ill, but it’s up to us to determine how to deal with it,&uot; she said.

Meanwhile, WCHS students performed closer to statewide percentages in the U. S. History and English II components of the SATP.

In all, 91.2 percent of WCHS students passed the history test, which covers subject matter from 1877 to the present, and 84.7 percent of WCHS students passed the English II narrative test.

Statewide, 94.3 percent passed the history exam, and 92.2 percent passed the English II narrative test. Students who entered the ninth grade during the 2002-03 school year and thereafter are required to pass all four SATP components in order to graduate. The SATP will eventually replace the Functional Literacy Exam, which students have been required to pass for graduation.

Beginning this fall, MDE officials will consider statistical progress on the SATP and other tests to assign performance classifications and set accreditation levels at each school within a district.

Each school will be rated on annual growth expectations in student achievement and the percentage of students performing at grade level.

McGhee said the new policy could easily impact any school’s accreditation level.

&uot;You may improve, but not make the progress they require to remain at your current level or move up,&uot; she said.