Pearl River County school districts receive mostly favorable reports in student achievement gaps

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2016

DIVERSITY: Students in the three local school districts showed varying levels of testing proficiency gaps pertaining to race, disability, gender and economic standing.  File photo

DIVERSITY: Students in the three local school districts showed varying levels of testing proficiency gaps pertaining to race, disability, gender and economic standing.
File photo

Statewide achievement gaps revealed a disparity between several subgroups in each school district, according to new data released by the Mississippi Department of Education.
According to an MDE press release, the data was based on district scores from the Mississippi Assessment Program tests in English language arts and mathematics from the 2015-2016 school year.
The analysis compares the percentage of proficient students in each subgroup: race, economic advantages, disabilities, those learning English as a second language and gender, the report states.
For example, it compares the percentage of proficient white students to the number of proficient black students in each school district.
The report states percentage points are the difference between the percent of proficient students being compared.
Statewide results reflect the average gap between black and white students is 28.6 percentage points.
Other statewide averages state that economically disadvantaged students had a 26.5 percentage point gap from advantaged students and those with disabilities had a 24.5 percentage point gap from those without disabilities.
“In order to ensure that all students are proficient and showing growth and that every student is graduating from high school ready for college and career, we must begin addressing achievement gaps in Mississippi,” Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said in the release. “Closing achievement gaps requires significant effort and cooperation among teachers, district leaders, parents and students.”
Schools that were rated less than the state average gap by more than five percentage points were given a green denotation, while those at or slightly above five percentage points were denoted amber and those with an average significantly larger than the state average were denoted as red, according to the report.
The Picayune and Poplarville school districts scored above or within five percentage points of the state average gap in each category for English.
The Pearl River County School District scored above average in all categories, except for students with disabilities where it was rated as having significantly higher gap than the state average for English. The district had a 30.6 percentage point gap, which is 1.1 percentage point away from scoring within the amber zone.
State averages for English were 28.6 percent between black and white students, 12.1 percent between other minorities and whites, 26.5 percent between those economically disadvantaged and advantaged, 24.5 percent between those with disabilities and those without, 16.4 percent between those learning English as a second language and those who speak it natively and 7.6 percent between males and females.
For English test scores in the Pearl River County School District, males had a 10.5 percent point difference from females, there was a 10.8 percent difference between blacks and whites, -.03 percent difference between other minorities and whites and a 13.7 difference between economically disadvantaged and advantaged.
In the Picayune School District, blacks were separated by 21.4 percentage points, other minorities by 12.4 points, economically disadvantaged by 10 points, disabled by 26.5 points, English as a second language students by 18 points and males by 8.4 points.
Black English students in the Poplarville Separate School District were separated by 16.1 percentage points, minorities at 5.8 points, economically disadvantaged at 14.3 points, students with disabilities at 27.6 points for and males at 8.3 points.
State averages in math were 27.8 percentage points for blacks, 5.6 points for whites, 24.6 points for economically disadvantaged, 22.6 points for those with disabilities, 6.5 points for those learning English as a second language and 2.4 points for males.

In math, Pearl River County School District also earned a red denotation for students with disabilities, reporting a 29.7 percentage point gap.
The district earned below average or within five points of the state average in the other categories; MDE reported a 22.1 point difference for blacks, 2.5 for other minorities, 12.6 for economically disadvantaged and 4.8 for males.
Poplarville Separate School District was marked green or amber in every category for math, according to the data.
Black students in that district were separated by 22.1 points, minorities by 1.5 points, economically disadvantaged by 15.2 points, studnets with disabilities by 24.9 points = and males by -.12 points.
Picayune School District earned red denotations in math for students with disabilities (29.5 points) and those learning English as a second language (14.5 points). The district also had a difference of 18.5 points for black students, 9.4 points for other minorities, -9.8 percent for economically disadvantaged and 1.2 percent for males.
Pearl River and Poplarville school districts had no values for students learning English as a second language category in either math or English.
“To assist in the statewide effort to close achievement gaps, the MDE is continuing to create professional development opportunities for teachers and district leaders related to increasing student achievement among all subgroups,” states the release.
The achievement gap report can be viewed in full at

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