Poplarville Middle students still on track with testing goals

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 11, 2021

Students at the Middle School of Poplarville are meeting their benchmark testing goals.

Principal Heidi Dillon updated the Poplarville School Board of Trustees on the school’s testing progress during the regular Board meeting Monday. The middle school is part of the Additional Targeted Support and Improvement program, so Dillon has to give the Board regular updates on the school’s progress.

The school was identified for ATSI because its three year average performance for students with disabilities was below students in the lowest performing schools in the 2016 to 2017 school year, according to previous coverage.

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To exit ATSI, the school needs a three year average performance among students with disabilities above the lowest performing schools and an increase in the subgroup accountability letter grade. Pearl River Central Junior High, Picayune Memorial High School and Picayune Junior High School are also ATSI schools for the same reason.

At the beginning of the school year, the middle school set proficiency goals in reading and math based on past data about student performance, said Dillon.

The goal for reading proficiency was set at 45 percent and the goal for math proficiency was set at 55 percent.

In December, students surpassed the reading proficiency goal when they hit 51 percent in benchmark testing. In the same set of tests, the math proficiency was at 45 percent.

The third benchmark testing was just completed this week. Sixth grade students for the third nine weeks tested at 60 percent, meeting the goal of scoring more than the 55 percent proficiency in math.

The special education students took their diagnostic tests over the past two weeks so the school’s staff still needed to review their data.

Testing will not count toward school grades or affect the school’s designation as an ATSI school this school year. The State Board of Education determined that schools will retain their letter grade and designation in programs like ATSI from the previous school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although testing will not count this year, Dillon is hopeful that students are being moved along in terms of growth and when students are tested the next year they will show the growth they need to be successful in high school.