Natchez-Adams School District falls below state averages in PARCC tests

Published 2:49 am Sunday, November 15, 2015

NATCHEZ — Preliminary statewide test scores showed the Natchez-Adams School District fell below state averages in English and algebra.

The Algebra I and English II high school preliminary results for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) were released earlier this month. The test is meant to see if students are ready to go into colleges and careers after graduation.

The results from the test were rated in five levels of understanding. The lowest was minimal understanding, moving up to partial, adequate, strong and distinguished.

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Out of 39 students tested in Algebra I, 69.2 percent fell into the minimal or partial levels. The test only looked at high school students enrolled in Algebra I, which is why only 39 students were tested, Superintendent Frederick Hill district leaders said.

“Over the last few years we have enrolled more and more students in Algebra I in the middle school level,” Hill said.

For English II, 61.3 percent of 240 students tested fell into the minimal and partial levels.

In terms of state averages, 42 percent of students were in those categories for Algebra I with 27.4 percent for English II. The state tested 40,536 students in Algebra II and 32,498 students in English II.

The 2014-2015 school year was the first year for PARCC. With a new curriculum, test and standards, Hill said the district’s low scores did not surprise him.

Other districts, Hill said, had trouble too.

“It’s not just unique to Natchez, not just unique to Mississippi, but every other state that’s a part of the PARCC Assessment,” Hill said.

In Algebra I, Greenville Public Schools had 72.9 percent of 387 students in the partial or minimal categories, and Brookhaven School District had 51.5 percent of 295 students.

But in English II, Greenville had 44.5 percent of 367 students in those categories while Brookhaven had 42.4 percent of 191 students.

Overall, 20.5 percent of NASD students achieved minimal understanding for Algebra I, 48.7 percent had partial, 25.6 percent achieved adequate and 5.1 percent reached strong. None reached distinguished understanding.

For the state average, 11.6 percent of students scored minimal understanding, 30.4 percent had partial, 30.5 percent were adequate, 26.3 percent were strong and 1.1 percent were distinguished.

In English II, 37.1 percent of NASD students had minimal understanding, 24.2 had partial, 22.5 had adequate, 12.9 percent scored strong and 3.3 percent reached distinguished.

For the state, 11.6 percent of students had minimal understanding, 15.8 percent had partial, 23.3 percent were adequate, 36.6 percent had strong understanding and 12.8 percent scored distinguished.

The school’s final score, Hill said, has not yet been determined.

“Of course it concerns me that our proficiency levels are at that rate,” Hill said. “But I can’t make a prediction on where our score is going to end up.”

Other factors are also taken into consideration before an overall score is issued.

“These scores alone do not indicate whether our high school is passing or failing,” Hill said.

PARCC was also only for the 2014-2015 school year.

“PARCC was new for us, and it was a one and done opportunity,” Hill said.

The new test for the 2015-2016 school year is the Questar Assessment, but Hill said the standards are the same.

“Now that we’ve had two years with the same standards, we’re expecting an increase,” Hill said.