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Test scores show Miss. students on track despite Katrina setbacks

Students in most Mississippi public schools are meeting performance goals for reading, language and mathematics, according to state and federal test results released Thursday by the state Department of Education.

The fourth annual report showed 759 of 832 schools, or 91 percent, rated successful or above in 2005-06 under state accountability standards.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, 709 schools met “adequate yearly progress” for all subjects. Officials say 851 schools must meet the federal standards.

The state tests are not administered in all schools because some schools only have children who are too young for the accountability testing.

Students across the state improved in nearly every category in the Mississippi Subject Area Testing Program results for 2005-06. The results are used to evaluate schools and districts by federal and state standards.

The results are preliminary and must be approved by the Mississippi Board of Education, which meets next week.

The number of low-performing schools dropped from eight in 2004-05 to three in 2005-06.

“These results demonstrate that our students, teachers and administrators worked very hard to increase student achievement, even when faced with many challenges brought on by Hurricane Katrina,” Hank M. Bounds, state superintendent of education, said in a news release.

Katrina struck Aug. 29, 2005, closing some coast schools for weeks.

Mississippi is trying to meet proficiency standards in reading and mathematics by 2014 to meet the national goal of No Child Left Behind.

The tests were administered to each Mississippi public school student in grades 2-8.

In reading, 749 schools made adequate yearly progress. In math, 735 schools were deemed proficient or above in mathematics.

In the wake of Katrina, the Department of Education extended a one-year delay of adequate yearly progress testing. Eleven of the 12 eligible districts that requested relief took advantage of the delay. None of the districts was listed as underperforming or low performing at the time.

In the 12 districts, 99 schools were eligible for the delay but only 25 applied for it.