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Test scores improve, but still lag state

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
July 22, 2003
Preliminary standardized test scores show that Meridian students have made improvements in reading, language and math even though they continue to perform below the state average.
Autry presented Meridian School Board members with preliminary test results on Monday from the Mississippi Curriculum Test a test that assesses reading, language and math in second through eighth grades.
In 2003, MCT scores improved in every area except sixth-grade math, seventh-grade reading and language and eighth-grade math. In some instances, the amount of improvement exceeded that of the state as a whole.
Every student's score falls into one of four proficiency levels on the MCT: minimal, basic, proficient and advanced.
In each of the three areas, Meridian students' proficiency levels rose. Third-grade students' proficiency in language rose 14 percent and second-grade language proficiency rose 10 percent.
Writing assessment
In addition to the MCT, Mississippi Public School students in grades four and seven took the Mississippi Writing Assessment which tests a student's ability to produce writing that demonstrates comprehension.
This was the fourth year the writing assessment was administered in the state. The test results show that Meridian fourth- and seventh-grade students continue to perform below the state average in writing.
In 2003, Meridian fourth-grade students scored a 2.1 out of a possible score of 4.0 down from a score of 2.4 fourth-graders had in 2002. The state average for fourth-graders in 2003 is 2.2.
In 2003, Meridian seventh-grade students scored a 2.1 out of a possible score of 4.0 down from a score of 2.3 the year before. The state average for seventh-graders in 2003 is 2.3.
Subject area testing program
During the 2002-2003 school year, the Mississippi Subject Area Testing Program was given to high school students in Algebra I, Biology I, English II and U.S. History (from 1877).
This was the second year that results from that test counted as a graduation requirement for most of the students.
Scores declined in each category except English II multiple choice and English II writing. In those areas, Meridian students made significant gains.
In 2002, 56.5 percent of students who took the English II multiple choice passed; in 2003, 72.5 percent passed. In English II writing, 85 percent passed in 2002 and 89 percent passed in 2003.
Individual school's results from all tests will be available Aug. 15.