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Columbus, Lowndes schools test worse than state average


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PDF file File: MCT2 and SATP Test Score Chart

Kristin Mamrack



Mississippi Curriculum Testing and Subject Area Test Program results show Columbus Municipal School District and Lowndes County School District students testing behind state averages. 


But test results also show some gains in the districts'' scores over last year. 






CMSD had a lower percentage of students -- grades three through eight -- test at proficient or advanced levels in language arts and mathematics than the average for third- through eighth-graders throughout the state, according to recently released MCT2 results. 


In some areas, less CMSD students tested at proficient or advanced levels than last year, but in other areas, CMSD students scored better than last year, with higher percentages testing at proficient or advanced levels. 


In Language Arts, third-, fourth-, and fifth- graders did not test at proficient or advanced levels as often as in the previous school year, but more sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders tested at proficient levels than last year and more seventh-graders tested at advanced levels. 


Additionally, CMSD students saw gains in mathematics testing over last year''s scores for third- through eighth-graders testing at proficient or advanced levels in mathematics. 


"All the stake holders, from the superintendent to the students, anxiously await the arrival of test scores each year," said CMSD Testing Coordinator Dr. Myra Gillis. "This year is no exception. After analyzing the scores, we''ve determined that we have some very positive momentum happening in our district. For example, students in seventh grade Language Arts made a 12-percentage point gain in number of students scoring Proficient and Advanced over the previous year''s scores. Cook fourth grade Math increased the percentage of students scoring Proficient and Advanced by more than 20 percentage points.  


"In other areas we''ve experienced some declines that are causing us to revisit the curriculum and the teaching strategies in search of a more effective way to deliver instruction," she continued. "Principals and teachers are meeting and disaggregating the data in a quest to make the necessary adjustments to position our students for greater success. Mississippi has raised the bar and it''s going to take all of our best efforts to continue to increase student performance and overcome the deficiencies that might be hindering student success."  


In LCSD, a higher percentage of third- through fifth-graders tested at proficient or advanced levels in language arts and mathematics than the state average. 


But LCSD sixth- through eighth-graders tended to fall behind the state''s average for proficient or advanced levels. 


Considering last year''s scores, higher percentages of LCSD third-, fourth- and fifth-graders tested at proficient or advanced levels in Language Arts and Mathematics than before, with the exception of eighth grade students who tested at lower math levels than previously. 


"We feel that our principals, teachers and staff work hard at preparing our students for MCT2," said LCSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Peggy Rogers. "When we compare this year''s average to last year''s, we showed a significant growth. We believe our extensive remediation and research-based programs have a lot to do with our growth." 






SATP results show CMSD students behind the state average for students passing in all four subject areas -- algebra, history, biology and English -- and LCSD students behind in two areas, algebra and biology. LCSD was ahead of the state average for English and history. 


The results of CMSD high school students SATP tests show 53.7 passed in algebra, as opposed to 54 percent last year. 


In U.S. history, 95.3 passed this year and 93.4 passed in the 2008/2009 school year; in biology, 81 percent passed this year, compared to only 75.6 percent in 2008/2009 and, in English, 53.1 percent passed this year, as opposed to 59.5 percent last year. 


CMSD officials noted the improvement in history and biology test results, as well as the gains shown by all tests. 


"We are excited and encouraged about our recent student performance on the statewide accountability measures," said CMSD Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips. "Our teachers, students, administrators, and parents are committed to making positive gains each year. Student achievement is our priority, and I believe these results indicate that our district is moving in the right direction." 


The results of LCSD high school students'' SATP tests show the same percentage of students -- 58.4 -- passed algebra as last year, 99.4 percent passed U.S. History --compared to 95.8 in 2008/2009 -- and 84.6 percent passed biology, as opposed to 84.5 percent who passed last year. 


Only 66.9 percent passed English, but 69.7 percent passed in the 2008/2009 school year.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment Bill commented at 8/23/2009 7:53:00 AM:

Why were the actual test scores not printed in the article? Why weren't the Columbus scores not compared to the average of the Mississippi scores?


Article Comment M commented at 8/23/2009 9:38:00 AM:

Its really no surprise that we test lower than the state. The school system needs to really be fixed. We as parents don't even get the results of how our kids did on these tests. How are we suppose to help our kids in the area they need help if we don't know where they are have the problems?


Article Comment D M commented at 8/23/2009 1:25:00 PM:

So we're raising the most unintelligent kids in the most unintelligent/fattest state in the nation? Awesome. At least we have God, guns, and low taxes though, right? Ha. Time to start teaching them to kowtow to our Chinese overlords... Pitiful. I'm ashamed to be born and raised here, and even more ashamed that people think that the state Mississippi is in is even 'okay'. Blame it all on government as much as you want, but the majority of parents don't care. It all starts at home.


Article Comment LoWanda commented at 8/23/2009 2:52:00 PM:

Testing is the full measure of success. Not true.Truth is not people are test takers even when they know how to do something well. Children fit in this same category. Also, we need to be aware that thrid through fifth grades are major formative years. The state needs to rethink why teachers are teaching the test and just not teaching.Pressure allows neither party to teach or learn in a constructive matter.


Article Comment M commented at 8/23/2009 5:24:00 PM:

Sarah correction: My kids DID NOT recieve their test results. Maybe its just my childs school but we got NOTHING! Yes the schools are mainly African American students but we can not say that it because of white teachers are students aren't learning anything. Its the school system as a whole. Teachers here aren't really worried so much as how a child does, the are mainly worried about where their school sits for test scores. They also put way to much pressure on the kids that do good and expect those students to carry the ones who really need help.


Article Comment TD commented at 8/23/2009 5:50:00 PM:

A few years ago a CAFB colonel said the CMSD provided an inferior education. The community was outraged to hear him speak the plain truth. We now see that his words were ignored. It's business as usual in Possum Town.

But do not fear ... no one can read (or understand) this anyway!


Article Comment jomo commented at 8/24/2009 9:18:00 AM:

I can Understand the Low Scores. It's hard to Write when you Have a Crack Pipe in one Hand, and Trying to light it with the other.


Article Comment Trojans#1 commented at 8/24/2009 11:05:00 AM:

These Test scores are in no way a reflection on anything other than students having far too much to do at home than worry about school, I mean they have every video game gadget and ipod you could imagine who needs school they are not taught the value of work or money so they have no desire to learn! Lets not blame the AFB for this mess I think it's time we take responsability and fix this problem not talk mess about evryone who could be at fault!


Article Comment Home School commented at 8/24/2009 12:36:00 PM:

This is exactly why I pulled my child out of public and private school and home schooled her. The public school teachers are too scared of the bad kids to properly teach or discipline. The private schools are too expensive..


Article Comment priviledged-info commented at 8/24/2009 1:51:00 PM:

Several years ago a colonel at the AFB who had no knowledge of the public school system ran his mouth about something he had never experienced. He CHOSE to send his kids to the PRIVATE school so he really knew NOTHING about the teachers or what they taught in the public schools. He also grouped ALL public schools into one category knowing that was no the truth. How can you know anything about the public schools when you turned your nose up at them the very minute you set foot in town?

People like T. Geiger, the computer operator at the CAFB and a government employee, like to run their mouth about how everyting in Columbus is the pits. He's never happy with anything and can't understand why NO ONE ever votes for him when he runs for an elected office. You need to put your money into your government savings and retirement fund and quit wasting it on elections. You don't make a difference at all.


Article Comment Neil Tentoni commented at 8/24/2009 2:28:00 PM:

It certainly sounds as though many here are critical of the school sysytem. There are many reasons for this. There are many bright kids who are pre-occupied with their Xbox instead of studying. Combine that with the kids who care nothing about school, think of it as a waste of time and energy, and it amazes me that even the kids who want to learn anything do. There are many great teachers in our school system busy babysitting too many kids that refuse to step up to the plate to improve themselves and their future. Unfortunately, many parents and teachers are doing what they can do, but many kids are just lazy.


Article Comment Wendy Ferretti commented at 8/24/2009 3:58:00 PM:

My child went from CMSD to LCSD and she was so far behind she almost failed the 5th grade. Thanks to Sylvan Learning Center, she is back with a 9th grade level in math!!! CMSD does not teach the basic skills needed and their Everyday Math is a joke! I loved MOST of the teachers, but we had 2 that just didn't care.


Article Comment Thom Geiger commented at 8/25/2009 12:28:00 PM:

Good to see you're still around, GL. Sure; you were one of the most vocal and angriest locals offended by the wing commander's attempt to help Columbus. You didn't understand the issues and facts then, and it looks like you're still staggering around in the dark.
The colonel NEVER gave his own personal opinion of anything. He told the press, the CMSD and the citizens what the responses were to questions on exit surveys and questionnaires filled out by active duty personnel leaving the base. Those questions and surveys now include answers and information from contractors and current base personnel, not just those exiting the base.
What is it about that that you simply can't seem to understand? You have been told that time and time again, but you continue to rant on about how the colonel did this and that, when in fact, EVERY wing commander since then has disclosed the same information from the same surveys that base personnel continue to fill out. Still you say the base should be closed, the contractors are all evil and military members and veterans need to move somewhere else. Again, with attitudes such as yours, I'm not surprised the public school system suffers as much it does. Oh, and 480+ people disagreed with you about my recent political efforts.


Article Comment Thom Geiger commented at 8/25/2009 1:52:00 PM:

Anyone can see what the USAF survey looks like at the following link;

That is where the information comes from that the wing commanders have been talking about. Your priviledged-info is wrong.


Article Comment Buttermilk commented at 8/25/2009 9:11:00 PM:

Thom Geiger pwned priviledged-info @ 1:52:00 PM!!!!!!!!


Article Comment 14/88 commented at 8/26/2009 7:44:00 AM:

sarah, get a life. everyone is tired of hearing how the blacks are soooo oppressed. get over it. we owe you NOTHING. maybe YOU should help your child with homework and help her understand. teacher cannot do it all on their own, it's also the parents responsibility. you ought to be ashamed teaching your child to expect the whites to give her everything.


Article Comment Sarah commented at 8/26/2009 5:51:00 PM:

14/88 so you will no longer be ignorant, no one said anything about being oppressed. A little observation of the school district would show what I said was the truth. Owe you people built the U.S. on the backs of African Americans. The White House was built by African Americans. Wonder wheree you would be if our MANY inventors hadn't made increidble inventions. My son did not have a problem in school. Matter of fact he is in a major university on an acdemaic scholorship and he didn't look or receive an handout from his teacher. I see this is another misconception from you all that all African Americans are lazy. Please get a grip. Be slow so speak and quick to listen or read in this case. So in your words, "Get a Life".


Article Comment 14/88 commented at 8/26/2009 6:58:00 PM:

do you have spell check?


Article Comment Dorothy Lowe commented at 8/27/2009 12:39:00 PM:

Were you even aware that the White House was partially built by blacks until Obama let you know of this?


Article Comment observer 2 commented at 8/28/2009 11:34:00 AM:

Children always follow someone. The leaders of our city have a four day work week mentality. That alone tells me and everybody else who knows about us that most of the people in our town don't like to study and work hard. It's not very productive either in reguards to the condition of our streets. The appearance of our city residential areas is embarrassing when out of towners visit. Our school children see and follow. When their leaders want to take 3 day week ends to the coast every week or just lay around the house doing nothing, that seems to be a good mentality to have so they follow suit by not working hard in school and ignore home work, monkey see monkey do, right. Just do enough to get by and stay afloat-not really caring about being the best that they can be. The county leaders are just as bad. When one person can remain in a supervisor position for over 25 years with no better leadership qualities than when he first began, something needs to change. Too many fat cats in leadership positions.
God bless our teachers, black and white. They are dedicated to their work. No four day mentality there. Too bad their hands are tied behind their backs in reguard to discipline. Parents need to stand behind the teachers like in the old days--if I got a paddleing at school ,I got another one when I got home.


Article Comment Lynn commented at 8/30/2009 10:50:00 AM:

Perhaps test scores could be improved if Del Phillips redirected some funds into the academic programs rather than into the ineffective athletic programs at the high school level. Dr. Phillips is the highest paid superintendent in the state, and the coaches received a raise last year, but the academic teachers didn't even receive a supplemental increase in spite of being forced to remain after school to tutor for no pay.


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