Three districts pilot Excellence for All program in Mississippi
Jackson, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released Wednesday the scores from state assessments from the 2011-2012 school year along with the more recent graduation and dropout rates for the entire state. While most school districts across Mississippi are teaching similar curriculum, there are three districts that have chosen to teach an innovative alternative pilot program offered in Mississippi for the first time in 2011.
Clarksdale, Corinth, and Gulfport school districts are piloting the State Board of Education (SBE)-approved Excellence for All model that uses a different more rigorous curriculum and assessment process. Excellence for All gives students more than one path to graduation, and in some cases, allows students to begin college level courses so they may get a head start on their next level of education.
“The districts piloting Excellence for All are to be commended for their willingness to be pacesetters and to think outside the box in replacing the typical schooling experience to produce more flexibility and options for students and their parents,” said Dr. Lynn House, Interim State Superintendent of Education.
Even though this is the first year of implementation for Excellence for All, students within this pilot also participated in federally regulated state assessments even though the curriculum being used did not align with the state tests. The assessment results for the Excellence for All curriculum will be used to set standards of proficiency that align with Excellence for All assessments.
Of the three districts, Gulfport implemented Excellence for All using the ACT Quality Core curriculum in grades K-12, Corinth piloted the Cambridge International Exams curriculum in grades 9-12, and Clarksdale chose a sample of 40 ninth students to enroll also using the Cambridge curriculum. The MDE and SBE look forward to more districts beginning the pilot process in the coming year.
“We all recognize the current high school model does not work for all students. It is critically important to prepare our students for a global economy. The Mississippi Legislature understands that offering curriculum that challenges the thinking of our students will benefit the state and our country. In fact, the legislature has prioritized funding to help implement the Excellence for All program for additional school districts for the 2012-2013 school year,” said Dr. House.