Pine Belt schools rank among highest on state tests

Pine Belt schools rank among highest on state tests

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The results are in for Mississippi's first assessment measuring student success under the controversial Common Core State Standards.

Mississippi students took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test during the 2014-2015 school year, and the state released those results Thursday for Algebra I and English II.

The test ranked student achievement from 1-5, with 5 being the highest scoring. PARCC considers students scoring at Levels 4 or 5 as meeting or exceeding expectations, suggesting students understand grade-level content and are on the right track to begin college-level coursework, according to the Mississippi Department of Education.

In Algebra I, Forrest County Schools ranked second in the state with 68.9 percent of students scoring in the top two categories. They followed Enterprise, which had 81.7 percent of students in the top two categories.

Petal School District ranked fourth, with 60.3 percent scoring in the two highest categories, and Lamar County was behind them ranking seventh with 56.6 percent. Forrest County Agricultural High School ranked eighth with 56.4 percent and Poplarville Special Municipal Separate ranked tenth with 55.1 percent.

Across the state, only 27.4 percent of students scored in Levels 4 and 5 for the Algebra I assessment. Pine Belt schools that scored lower than that included Covington County, Hattiesburg, Jefferson Davis County, Jones County, Laurel, Lumberton, Marion County, Perry County, Richton and Wayne County.

Students fared much better on the English II test across the state, although there were not any Pine Belt schools in the top 10.

Lamar County ranked 13th with 67.6 percent of students scoring in the top two levels. Greene County ranked 16th and Petal ranked 17th, with 66.3 and 65.9 percent respectively, scoring in Levels 4 and 5.

The state had 49.3 percent scoring in the top two levels on English II. Several Pine Belt schools missed that mark, including Covington County, East Jasper, Hattiesburg, Jefferson Davis County, Laurel and Marion County.

This was the first and last time Mississippi used the PARCC test. The same college and career ready standards that have been used over the last several years will continue to be taught, but the state will begin administering the Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP) instead of PARCC this school year and will continue for the next several  years.

MDE said, as anticipated under the new PARCC test, student performance dropped from previous years in Algebra I and English II.

"The PARCC assessments were more demanding than previous state tests," State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said. "The test results today mark a new starting point for our students, and we expect test scores to increase over time. These tests required students to solve problems and explain their answers at a much higher level than previous state tests that were mainly multiple choice."

To access the scores for all districts, click here.

For more information about the new MAP assessment, click here.

MDE will release test scores for grades 3-8 next month.