MS Dept. of Education releases accountability rankings, local school officials speak

PINE BELT, Miss. - After several changes in the state's classroom testing, the Mississippi Department of Education released its results in the 2015-2016 accountability rankings. Petal and Forrest County Agricultural High School districts earned an "A" and several schools in the Pine Belt did too.

Petal Superintendent Matt Dillon said, "Are teachers work extremely hard, we have great administration, great support staff, and the community support we have is second to none."

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has made several changes in its testing and school officials said its made an impact.

On MDE's website it shows how schools and districts are tested:

"In accordance with 34 C.F.R. 200.12 and MS Code 37-17-6, the 2016 Mississippi Statewide Accountability System assigns a performance rating of A, B, C, D, and F for each school and district based on established criteria regarding student achievement, individual student growth, graduation rate, and participation rate. Statewide assessments are used to measure proficiency and growth in proficiency for students in grades 3-8 and high school students taking end-of-course subject area assessments in Algebra I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History. Schools and districts are expected to have a participation rate of 95% or greater, and high schools and districts receive scores based on their four-year, cohort graduation rate."

"There has not been a lot of consistency over the last years" said Superintendent Dillon. He added, "With that is not knowing where you would land when you got your test results, and then plugging your test results when you got into the accountability model."

Oak Grove and Purvis High School rated an "A" and top 20 in the entire state. Lamar County Superintendent Tess Smith said, "Oak Grove High School was 14, and I believe Purvis High School was 18." She added, "I am just very proud and a lot of hard work and dedication, but that is district wide."

"It just paid off a little more at those schools for sure" said Superintendent Smith.

Last year Lamar County School District rated an "A", but have fallen to a "B" this year. "We have been dealing with a lot of change, three tests, three years" said Superintendent Smith.

She continued, "Thankfully that is over, we now have that blue print, teachers have a better target now."

Smith said MDE will evaluate schools with the same testing for the next 9 year, which will provide consistency for educators.

For a full list of schools and districts ranked in MS you can click here.

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