Embargoed News Release: Until 12:01 a.m., August 22, 2013
Mississippi Increases Graduation Rate, Test Scores Continue Improvement
JACKSON, Miss. – More students scored proficient and advanced at every grade level on the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition (MCT2) and on the Subject Area Testing Program, Second Edition (SATP2), according to test scores released Thursday by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). Districts also showed a four-year graduation rate of 75.5 percent, the highest rate since re-calculations were done in 2007, and a four-year dropout rate of 13.9 percent, a nearly 3 percent drop from 2012.
“The assessment results are the product of hard work by students and teachers across the state under more rigorous standards. While we are pleased with the overall growth in academic performance, we know that some of our schools are still struggling. We are implementing initiatives and working with districts to help students as we continue to move Mississippi to standards that will better prepare them for postsecondary education and the workforce,” said Dr. Lynn House, interim state superintendent of education.
House also said the lower dropout rate and higher graduation rates prove that districts are working to encourage students to stay in school, and they are focusing on attendance and targeting students at risk of dropping out.
“Those efforts, as well as MDE providing more technical assistance to districts and school counselors exploring multiple pathways to college and careers with students, have caused dramatic decreases in students leaving school and increases in graduation,” House said.
The MCT2 is given to students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math, and it was first implemented in the 2007-8 school year to assess the state’s more rigorous standards. The 2013 MCT2 assessments show that every grade made improvements on the state tests in English language arts. In math, grades 6 and 8 remained level in performance from last year but other grades saw scores increase.
“These scores demonstrate that our students will respond to academic challenges. Teachers are becoming better trained to help students achieve higher performance as we implement more rigor in the classroom,” said James Mason, director of student assessment.
In the SATP2, students were tested in Algebra I, Biology I, U.S. History and English II. The percentage of students passing Algebra I and Biology I increased from last year. The English passage rate remained the same as last year, and the U.S. History rate increased significantly. During the 2011-12 school year, the new U.S. History assessment was implemented. This new exam represents the most challenging of the four SATP2 exams based upon the difficulty of what students are expected to know and do. A new Biology I test was implemented in 2010-11.
- Algebra I: 85 percent passing
- Biology I: 79 percent passing
- English II: 73 percent passing
- U.S. History: 81 percent passing
High school students must earn a passing score on each test to be eligible for graduation. The test results represent first-time test takers. Students generally have up to three opportunities each year to earn a passing score on the SAPT2 exams during high school.
The assessment results will help determine performance classifications for schools and districts using the State’s accountability model. Schools will be classified from highest to lowest, A-F. The 2013 school and district performance classifications will be released Sept. 13th following Mississippi Board of Education approval of the results.
2013 SATP2/MCT2 Results
2013 Proficiency and Above Rates