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School district grades to be released

Students participate in an online class at Pearl River Central High School. This month all schools will find out their grade based on their student’s MCTII test scores. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Students participate in an online class at Pearl River Central High School. This month all schools will find out their grade based on their student’s MCTII test scores.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari


This month the Mississippi Department of Education will release school district letter grades for the 2013-2014 school year. The results will be announced after the Oct. 17 board of education meeting.
Last school year, the Pearl River County School District received a B grade, Assistant Superintendent Nina Guthrie said. The grades are based on the students’ proficiency on the MCT2 test and subject area testing.
“At least 95 percent of the students have to be tested in order to remain at the grade level the district received last year,” Guthrie said. “We are always aiming for a higher accountability rating in our district.”
Guthrie said that the model is based on one day of testing results, not what the students have accomplished throughout the year.
Guthrie said there are a lot of contributing factors leading to a student’s performance on a test.
The Poplarville School District also received a B grade last year.
“Our district is always striving to reach that higher level,” Superintendent Carl Merritt said. “We have implemented the third grade literacy act and are training our teachers to implement common core standards.”
Merritt said he understands that one day of testing is used to determine the grade, but said if the students are properly prepped then they will be at the level they should be.
According to an MDE press release, this year’s grades are based on a new accountability model implementing new and more rigorous college and career ready standards. The release of letter grades has been extended one month to allow districts enough time to evaluate data and determine whether they will request an internal review.
“We expect this extension will provide a more accurate and transparent process by which grades are assigned to schools and districts,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said in the release. “As we’ve raised the bar for academic performance, schools have provided significant professional development to teachers since 2010 to help prepare students for the higher standards.”
Because of this transition, the U.S. Department of Education granted Mississippi a one-year waiver from school letter grades for the 2013-2014 school year, which will allow a school to keep the letter grade received in the 2012-2013 school year if the letter grade is lower this year, the release stated.
Learn more about the Mississippi Department of Education at www.mde.k12.ms.us, Pearl River School District at www.prc.k12.ms.us and Poplarville School District at www.poplarvilleschools.org.