Baxterville sits atop 3 MAAP categories

By HASKEL BURNS,

Results from the 2018-19 Mississippi Academic Assessment program, released Thursday by the Mississippi Department of Education, show several Forrest and Lamar county schools performing well above the state average in proficiency rankings, and in many instances, in the top 10 in Mississippi.

The assessments measure student performance in English Language Arts and mathematics for grades 3-8, along with high school English II and Algebra I.

State test grades are given on five levels: minimal, basic, pass, proficient and advanced. Proficiency scores are the total of students who received proficient and advanced scores, or Levels 4 and 5.

English

Baxterville School topped all area schools in three ELA categories: 3rd grade, 6th grade and 8th grade.

In Grade 3 ELA, the school received a proficiency score of 81.5 percent, good for eighth in the state. This year’s result is up from last year’s 73.9 percent proficiency rating.

In Grade 6 ELA, Baxterville received 54.5 percent proficiency – or 30th in the state – well up from last year’s 22.2 percent proficiency. The school ranked fourth in the state with a 62.5 percent proficiency in Grade 8 ELA, up from last year’s 36.3 percent.

Tess Smith, superintendent of the Lamar County School District, attributed Baxterville’s improvement to teachers working together collaboratively and building relationships with students and administrators.

“It takes people working together,” she said. “I was out at that school (Wednesday) morning, and like all of our schools, they work very hard for their kids.

“That’s one thing I tell them when I have a chance to talk to them – we’re way more than all these numbers. It starts with working together and building those relationships with the kids, and they truly believe in that.”

Dixie Attendance Center topped local schools in Grade 4 ELA with a 71.7 proficiency – or 31st in the state – while Petal Upper Elementary performed better than all local schools in Grade 5 ELA with 65.2 percent proficiency, or 38th in the state. South Forrest Attendance Center received a 58.7 percent proficiency in Grade 7 ELA for 17th in the state, while Petal High School garnered a 69.2 percent proficiency in English II for fifth in the state.

The statewide proficiency average for individual schools was 45.6 percent for Grade 3 ELA; 48.5 percent for Grade 4 ELA; 43.1 percent for Grade 5 ELA; 33.6 percent for Grade 6 ELA; 39 percent for Grade 7 ELA; 35.5 percent for Grade 8 ELA; and 39 percent for English II.

In district rankings – meaning all schools in the district were counted – the Petal School District came out on top of all local districts in each of the English categories. The district received 71.1 percent proficiency in Grade 3 ELA (fifth in the state); 69 percent proficiency in Grade 4 ELA (sixth in the state); 65.2 percent proficiency in Grade 5 ELA (fifth in the state); 51.1 percent proficiency in Grade 6 ELA (seventh in the state); 58.5 percent proficiency in Grade 7 ELA (fourth in the state); 61.9 percent proficiency in Grade 8 ELA (first in the state); and 69.2 proficiency in English II (second in the state).

The Lamar County School District earned 62.5 percent proficiency in Grade 3 ELA, 59.9 percent proficiency in Grade 4 ELA, 53.4 percent proficiency in Grade 5 ELA, 44.8 percent proficiency in Grade 6 ELA, 47.6 percent proficiency in Grade 7 ELA, 50.8 percent proficiency in Grade 8 ELA and 58.9 percent proficiency in English II.

The Hattiesburg Public School District received 38.5 percent proficiency in Grade 3 ELA, 46.7 percent proficiency in Grade 4 ELA, 39.2 percent proficiency in Grade 5 ELA, 20.3 percent proficiency in Grade 6 ELA, 31.7 percent proficiency in Grade 7 ELA, 23.8 percent proficiency in Grade 8 ELA and 27.1 percent proficiency in English II.

Math

Schools in the Petal School District outperformed area schools in most of the math proficiency categories: Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7 and Grade 8.

Petal Elementary School pulled in 73.3 percent proficiency in Grade 4 Math (37th in the state), while Petal Upper Elementary earned 80.9 percent proficiency in Grade 5 Math (ninth in the state). The upper elementary received 74.6 percent proficiency in Grade 6 Math (26th in the state), while Petal Middle School earned 80.5 percent proficiency in Grade 7 Math (eighth in the state).

The middle school also earned 75.1 percent proficiency in Grade 8 ELA, good for 11th in the state.

Sumrall Elementary School pulled in the top spot among local schools in Grade 3 Math with an 86.4 percent proficiency, or 15th in the state. Sumrall Middle School topped area schools in Algebra I, earning a 100 percent efficiency for seventh in the state.

The statewide proficiency average for individual schools was 51.4 percent for Grade 3 Math, 48.8 percent for Grade 4 Math, 38.9 percent for Grade 5 Math, 47.6 percent for Grade 6 Math, 51.1 percent for Grade 7 Math, 44.8 percent for Grade 8 Math and 49.3 percent for Algebra I.

With all schools in each district accounted for, the Petal School District outperformed all local districts in every math category. The district received 74.1 percent proficiency in Grade 3 Math (fourth in the state); 73.3 percent proficiency in Grade 4 Math (eighth in the state); 80.9 percent proficiency in Grade 5 Math (first in the state); 74.6 percent proficiency in Grade 6 Math (first in the state); 80.5 percent proficiency in Grade 7 Math (first in the state); 75.1 percent proficiency in Grade 8 Math (first in the state); and 77.1 percent proficiency in Algebra I (seventh in the state).

“We talk a lot about controlling what we can control, and (proficiency) is an area that we can control, so we feel really good about proficiency,” said Matt Dillon, superintendent of the Petal School District. “The way the model is set up, this is an area that we have to capitalize on.

“Year in and year out, our teachers do an amazing job of knowing our standards, teaching at a very high level, and getting the most out of our kids. I can’t commend their efforts enough.”

The Lamar County School District scored 68.6 percent proficiency in Grade 3 Math; 58.5 percent proficiency in Grade 4 Math; 52 percent proficiency in Grade 5 Math; 65 percent proficiency in Grade 6 Math; 65.7 percent in Grade 7 Math; 61.4 percent proficiency in Grade 8 Math; and 67.6 percent in Algebra I.

The Hattiesburg Public School District scored 45.8 percent proficiency in Grade 3 Math; 33.4 percent proficiency in Grade 4 Math; 32.3 percent proficiency in Grade 5 Math; 35.9 percent proficiency in Grade 6 Math; 43.8 percent proficiency in Grade 7 Math; 40.5 percent proficiency in Grade 8 Math and 33 percent proficiency in Algebra I.

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