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MPSD Holds Steady on New, More Rigorous 2014-15 State Test

Mississippi Department of Education released the 2014-15 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) state test results, and the Meridian Public School District held steady, and even showed gains in some areas, on the new, more rigorous state test.


“We are very encouraged that 70% of the schools in Meridian maintained or showed improvement on the more rigorous state assessment,” said Dr. Amy Carter, MPSD Superintendent.


The PARCC state test was first given to students during the spring semester of the 2014-15 school year and replaced the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition which schools across the state had been taking for years. The PARCC test was much more difficult than the previous state test, and it was developed to align student knowledge with higher college and career standards and measure higher learning skills. The goal of the new PARCC test was to show if students are being equipped to graduate and perform college-level work or be successful in a career.


It has been widely speculated that many schools and districts would see a drop in scores on the PARCC assessment due to the increase in rigor; however, the majority of MPSD schools kept the same ranking or improved a letter grade.


The accountability system factors in student proficiency, a standards-based growth model, and the four-year graduation rate, if the school has a 12th grade. The system is designed to present a more transparent picture of how well schools are serving students at all levels.


The accountability system also places a greater emphasis on student academic growth, particularly the lowest performing 25 percent of students. Students meet growth if their scores improve from one proficiency level to the next, or move sufficiently within the lower proficiency levels. MPSD showed great gains in improving the knowledge and performance of students who are in the lowest 25 percent.


“Our schools demonstrated tremendous growth of students in the lowest 25% as well as continued to steadily increase the percentage of students graduating from Meridian High School. Our teachers and students proved that they are capable of showing improvement, even on a more rigorous assessment, and we are looking forward to building upon that success this year,” said Carter.  


This year’s results reflect the final year of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to compensate for the state transitioning to higher standards of learning. The waiver allows a school to retain the letter grade it received in the 2013-14 school year if the 2014-15 grade is lower as a result of assessment results. Waiver grades are the official grades for 2014-15. Starting with the 2015-16 school year, there will be no waiver in effect.


“The gains that were made on the PARCC state assessment would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the Meridian teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community leaders, and I would like to commend everyone for their role in helping our students move forward,” said Carter. “We still have work to do to get our students prepared academically to compete with students across the state as well as in the nation, but the district is definitely making positive strides and we are looking forward to improving areas of opportunity and building upon areas of success.”


Highlights from this 2014-15 data release include:

-Without taking the waiver into account:

o   seven schools maintained or increased a letter grade

o   three schools increased a letter grade


o   six schools are rated “C” or better

o   Poplar Springs Elementary remains an “A” rated school which is the highest performance level

o   Meridian High School moved to a high performing rating of “B” 


Review of Previous Performance:

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