Shealy ‘pleased with gains’ made by VWSD students in state assessment tests

Published 8:37 pm Thursday, August 16, 2018

Students in the Vicksburg Warren School District showed some improvement on the statewide assessment tests during the 2017-18 school year.

The results from state tests in language arts and mathematics showed an overall improvement for elementary and high school students, according to information from the Department of Education.

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“Our team is busy analyzing the test scores and we are pleased with the gains we have made,” VWSD Superintendent Chad Shealy said. “A big thank you to our board, teachers, staff, students, and parents for their hard work.

“One thing we are excited about is the percentage of students who scored advanced — the highest bracket — in algebra. VWSD’s percentage of students scoring advanced was higher than many of the top-rated high schools in the state. Our top students are performing as well as or better than others around the state.

“We will continue to decipher these scores and our decisions about how best to continue our improvements will be based on this data.”

The statewide tests, known as the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program, are administered annually to determine proficiency in language arts and math for students in grades 3 through high school.

The high school tests measure proficiency in English II, algebra I and U.S. history. The tests have five levels, and students need to reach level three to pass the tests. Students scoring at levels 4 and 5 are considered proficient or advanced in a particular subject area.

According to the state report, 40 school districts had more than 45 percent of all students performing at level 4 or 5 during the 2018 testing period. Twenty-two districts had students performing at level 4 or 5 in 2017, and 14 in 2016.

According to the state department’s statistics, grades 3, 4, 7 and 8 language arts showed an increase in the percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced during the 2017-18 school year over 2016-17. The percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in algebra I also improved between 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Three grades — 5, 6 and high school — showed a decrease in 2017-18 in the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced compared with the 2016-17 school year.

High schools statewide showed improvement in algebra I scores, with 46.6 percent scoring at level 4 or 5 as compared with 42.4 percent in 2016-2017. The percentage of students scoring at level 4 or 5 on the English II tests was down, with 44.5 percent reaching level 4 or 5 during the 2017-18 school year compared to 47.8 percent in 2016-17.

According to information from the school district, both Vicksburg High School and Warren Central High School showed increases in math proficiency, Vicksburg high increasing by 296 percent, and  Warren Central by 67.

“Both high schools showed tremendous growth over the previous year in math for all students, and both showed over a 14 percentage point increase in their growth of the lowest 25 percent in math,” Shealy said. “Both high schools showed increases in U.S. History proficiency.”

All eight tested elementary schools maintained their level from last year or improved in language arts, according to the school district, with Bowmar, Bovina, Redwood, South Park, Warrenton and Vicksburg Intermediate improving. Beechwood and Warren Central Intermediate remained at their previous level.

Five of the district’s eight elementary schools increased in math proficiency for a third consecutive year: Beechwood, Bovina, Bowmar, Redwood and South Park, and the district’s two junior high schools increased in math proficiency for the third year in a row, according to school district officials.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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