Schools miss expected progress goals

Published 1:00 am Saturday, September 12, 2009

NATCHEZ — Figures made public by the Mississippi Department of Education Friday gave school districts across the state the first indicators as to how the MCT2 impacted the adequate yearly progress of schools.

For the Natchez-Adams School District the indicators are not what school officials had hoped.

The AYP, a component of the No Child Left Behind Act, examines the percentage of students scoring at proficient and above on the MCT2, which tests on math and language arts, to determine progress made in the schools.

Email newsletter signup

While high school students are subjected to the Subject Area Test Program, which tests on algebra 1, biology, English 2 and U.S. History, percentages of those scoring proficient and above are also used to determine the AYP.

Third – eight grade students that took the MCT2, with the exception of eight graders taking the math portion of the exam at Robert Lewis Middle School, did not meet AYP goals.

While the AYP guidelines showed at least 49 percent of the state’s eight graders should have scored at proficient or above, RLMS eight graders scored at 59 percent proficient or advanced.

NASD Director of Curriculum and Instruction Charlotte Franklin said the AYP results show a need for improvement.

“It doesn’t mean were not teaching the curriculum,” Franklin said. “It means there is more work to be done.”

District Superintendent Anthony Morris said while he too sees a need for increased performance on the MCT2, he believes the increased rigor of the MCT2 contributed to elevated AYP expectations and caused higher numbers of schools in the district, and across the state, to miss their AYP goals.

“I think we’re making progress,” Morris said. “It just doesn’t always happen as fast as we’d like it to.”

But the AYP results were not without their bright spots.

Natchez High School students achieved their AYP goals in each of the four testing areas.

“They’re making improvements and we’re thrilled to see it,” Morris said. “They’ve put in the work.”

And while federal standards have already been applied to the state’s standardized tests results, more rankings are coming.

In the coming weeks the Mississippi State Board of Education is expected to release its rankings that will replace former 1-5 system, which was used when the original MCT was still administered.

The state’s rankings will classify schools as either a star school, high performing, satisfactory, low performing, academic watch, at-risk of failing or failing.