Earlier this year, fifth and eighth grade students in Mississippi took the Terra Nova exam. Given nationally, the tests measures public school students skills in math, reading and language.
With a national average of 50, overall state scores have improved and matched the national average in most cases. Locally, with an average score of 54 Lauderdale County schools scored higher than the national average.
"I think it's a culmination of things showing that our teachers are working harder than they ever have, so are our principals and students and parents," said Supt. David Little, Lauderdale County Schools.
Meanwhile, as for Meridian Public Schools the scores were lower than the national bar at an average of about 44.
"Of course, we always want to do better and we are doing better in individual schools. Over all, as a district we still have a long way to go," said Supt. Dr. Janet Mcli, Meridian Public School District.
As for other schools the district with the highest scores in the state was Claiborne County with 68.8. In our area Enterprise scored the highest with 58.5 for the fifth grade.
As for the districts with the lowest scores statewide, Jefferson County ranked at the bottom with a score of 32.1 while in our area the East Jasper County School district in Heidelberg ranked lowest with a rating for 38.5 for the fifth grade.
Other results show that many of the other schools districts within the WTOK viewing area scored just above or below the national average. Here are some of those results:
2002 Terra Nova Tests Scores: National Average 50.0
District - Grade 5 - Grade 8
- Lauderdale Co. - 55.9 - 53.4
- Meridian - 44.3 - 43.3
- Enterprise - 58.5 - 53.2
- East Jasper - 38.5 - 42.5
- Quitman - 51.5 - 55
- Newton City - 50 - 51.8
- Newton Co. - 54.8 - 54.7
- Neshoba Co. - 51.1 - 50.8
- Philadelphia - 45.8 - 44.2
- Kemper Co. - 41.9 - 39.6
- Noxubee Co. - 45.6 - 38.6
- Louisville - 47.9 - 49.3
- Scott Co. - 49.8 - 46.8
- Forest - 44.5 - 49
- Smith Co. - 55.6 - 51.3
- West Jasper - 44.1 - 46.4
- Wayne Co. - 47 - 52.1
For more information on how individuals schools ranked on the Terra Nova test you can log onto http://www.mde.k12.ms.us.
We now know where Mississippi kids rank nationally for reading and math, but by what standard.
It's more than 140 questions involving math, reading and language.
"This test matches up very well with the curriculum," said Clara Godine, Director of Curriculum for Lauderdale County Schools.
Mississippi uses McGraw Hill's Terra Nova test for 5th and 8th graders. This sample question is
one of the more basic that could appear on the test.
Students are given a sentence and must decide if it's correct or needs to be changed.
"My mother and I is planning to travel to Mexico next month."
Students have four choices.
- 1. My mother and I was planning,
- 2. My mother and I are planning,
- 3. My mother and I has been planning
- 4. Leave it as is.
The correct answer: B. "My mother and I are planning to travel to Mexico
This is a sample math question from the eighth grade test.
Each hive has 1 queen bee, about 1,000 drones, and about 50,000 workers. About what percentage of the bees in a hive are drones? Students could use a calculator to help them choose between:
- A. 2%
- B. 5%
- C. 20%
- D. 50%.
The answer is A. 2%.
"If teachers teach the Mississippi curriculum, students will have no problem on this test," said Godine.