The results of last year's round of statewide testing have been published. They include the Mississippi Curriculum Test for elementary students and subject area testing for high school students.
The results are that Lauderdale County schools were uniformly above the state average. Meridian schools were uniformly below it.
"We are extremely proud," said Lauderdale County superintendent Randy Hodges. "It is time to celebrate in Lauderdale County Schools."
Lauderdale County scored higher than the state average on every test, a feat Hodges says is proof teachers are definitely doing something right.
"The teachers are the key. If you have good test results, the credit goes to the teachers," Hodges said.
And while the district is taking time to congratulate staff and students, district leaders are also looking for ways to improve. Hodges is evaluating how the district did this year compared to last. In fact he says he has only started breaking down the numbers.
"What you have to do is look at your strengths and weaknesses and there were also some areas we could improve in," said Hodges.
On the other end of the spectrum, Meridian's numbers are below the state averages. By phone, Meridian superintendent Charlie Kent addressed the district's scores by saying he isn't pleased with them.
However, Kent says the district has a plan in place to address school improvement, which includes professional development for teachers to help them teach to the state's curriculum framework. Hodges said he believes test scores are important but he tries to look at the larger picture as well.
'I think the tests are important, but you must keep a balance," said Kent. "You approach them as very important but also we want our students to have a rewarding, exciting experience at school."
State officials say scores across Mississippi were up slightly from last year, the first time the MCT2 was given.
Interim state school superintendent James Jordan said there is still much work to do to get Mississippi students up to national standards.
The test results will help the state give new labels to districts and schools across the state. Each school will be rated from successful to failing.
Also released this week are ACT scores. The state average is 18.9. Lauderdale County averaged 20, while Meridian averaged 18.2.
Click below to visit the Mississippi Department of Education Web site and view the results for any district.