BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Results from the latest and final MCT2 are out and many schools across the state may see a big drop in their test scores. School superintendents are telling parents don't be surprised or disappointed if your child moves from the "advanced" category to "proficient" or even below. That's because what the students were taught last year and what they were tested on were quite different.
Passing rates for each public school district as well as for the state as a whole can be found at: http://reports.mde.k12.ms.us/report1/r2013-14.aspx
From T-shirt Tuesdays to special snacks, the prizes and privileges to reward student achievement have paid off for the Pass Christian School District. Once again, schools in the Pass excelled on the MCT2 compared to the other districts in South Mississippi.
They swept the Language Arts category. Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the Pass scored the highest on those tests. Pass Christian also had the highest percentage of elementary and middle school students in the "Proficient" and "Advanced" categories, averaging 75-percent.
On the math test, Pass Christian third and fifth graders also ranked at the top. However, at the fourth grade level, Jackson County edged out the other districts. In the sixth grade, Harrison County shined. In seventh grade, Hancock County stood out. And in the eighth grade, Pass Christian tied with Pearl River County in the top spot.
In the Subject Area Tests for high school students, the Mississippi Department of Education sent revised numbers after the results were posted. According to a spokesperson, the MDE discovered an error in the calculation of the SATP percentages that skewed the results late Monday afternoon, but made the corrections.
Based on those results, Pass Christian made the highest marks in Algebra. Biloxi and Poplarville tied in Biology I. Long Beach, Ocean Springs and Pass Christian students scored the highest in History. Meanwhile, Ocean Springs tested well in English II.
Even though their students performed well, several superintendents said their scores dropped, but it was expected. That's because many districts fully implemented Common Core standards in their classrooms last year, but their students took the old MCT2 test.
Common Core stresses college and career readiness skills. It involves more reading, writing and applying math skills instead of just memorizing facts. The MCT2 contained mainly multiple choice questions.
"It's definitely apples and oranges comparison. In my explanation it would be asking someone, a grown up, to go take the driver's test. And once they got there and had studied for it, even though it's a driver's test, they are asked to take the commercial driver's licence test. Most of us would perform poorer," said Biloxi Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan.
McMillan added that scores tend to fluctuate every time there is a change in the test format. The MCT2 is now a thing of the past. Starting this year, schools in Mississippi will fully switch to Common Core and students will take the PARCC assessment next spring.
Since schools are in the middle of the transition to Common Core, they will be "held harmless." The waiver means if their test scores dropped last year, that won't count against the districts and they get to keep the grade they made the previous year.
Once again, Gulfport's scores were not posted, because the district was part of a pilot program to test Common Core.
The state superintendent of education issued this statement in response to the MCT2 results:
"The performance levels on state tests were lower this year as expected because the 2014 tests were not aligned to Mississippi's higher academic standards," said Dr. Carey Wright. "We are looking forward to implementing the state's new assessments in 2015, which will provide a more meaningful measure of what students are currently learning in class."