Student Scores See Improvement

State test results for Mississippi students were released Wednesday. For the Meridian Public School District, there are encouraging signs of improvement.

MPSD was rated Low Performing last year and the district set the goal of being Successful this year. Those ratings have not yet been released to the public, but officials say growth has been confirmed in the MCT2 for grades 3-8 and Subject Area Testing for high school students..

"We are very pleased that we met and exceeded all of our goals," said Superintendent Dr. Alvin Taylor. "So, I can't go in to specific labels or numbers because MDE hasn't released that, but I can say to you that we met and exceeded our goals."

At this time, there's no word on when the Mississippi Department of Education will reveal specific ratings for individual districts.

However, what is being released is test data which shows growth for the district in every area, except sixth grade math, which stayed the same.

"What no one is telling you is that the state of Mississippi has set the bar for proficiency at such a high level in terms of 4th grade reading and language arts that we have the 7th highest proficiency level in the United States," said Robin Miles, Meridian Public Schools' assistant superintendent for curriculum.

To keep up the momentum, district officials say they plan to intensify strategies in place that are working.

"Follow the same pattern that was successful and we're going to work to ensure that we're teaching smart," said Miles.

To further improve the education that students receive, this year Meridian High implemented a block schedule. This requires students to stay longer in individual classes for instruction and complete courses sooner.

Basically this means that courses that would have taken a year to complete can now be finished in one semester's time. Ultimately, this allows students to take even more courses.

"It is our intention that the Meridian Public School District will be one of the best school districts in the state of Mississippi and all of our actions and all of our thought process is geared toward doing that," Taylor said.

The newly released numbers also show that the four year graduation rate for the district held steady at roughly 69 percent. However, there was a 6.5 percent increase in the number of fifth year high school students who went on to graduate instead of dropping out of school.

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