STATE ASSESSMENTS
 
Since success of some of the goals and performance indicators are based on results of the State assessments, a brief explanation is needed. Beginning Spring 2008, the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition (MCT2), the revised English II, and the revised Algebra I Subject-Area Tests were administered. (Biology I and U.S. History will be revised at a later date.) The MCT2 is the measure of student achievement in Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and serves as the basis for State accountability designed to meet the federal testing requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), 2001. Likewise, as part of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Title I requirements, all students who are enrolled in Algebra I and English II (multiple-choice only) for the first time must be tested.  The scores of all these first-time test takers must be included in the annual report cards and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) calculations to comply with the federal law.
 
Each test contains questions of varying degrees of difficulty, better known as depth of knowledge (DOK), that are aligned to the content, skills, and processes represented by Mississippi’s academic content standards as specified in the state curriculum frameworks and the academic performance level descriptors. Below is a listing of the competencies and number of questions by grade/area for the revised Reading/Language Arts and English II tests:
 
State Assessment – Reading/Language Arts and English II
 
Competency
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
Eng. II
The student will use word recognition and vocabulary (word meaning) skills to communicate.
8
8
8
8
7
7
7
The student will apply strategies and skills to comprehend, respond to, interpret, or evaluate a variety of texts of increasing length, difficulty, and complexity.
12
13
16
16
21
21
28
The student will express, communicate, evaluate, or exchange ideas effectively.
17
17
22
22
28
28
24
The student will apply Standard English to communicate.
13
12
14
14
14
14
11
Total Core Items
50
50
60
60
70
70
70
 
Below is a listing of the competencies and number of questions by grade for the revised Mathematics and Algebra I tests:
 
State Assessment – Mathematics and Algebra I
 
Competency
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
Alg. I
Numbers and Operations: Analyze relationships among numbers and the four basic operations. Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
17
16
15
15
12
10
7
Algebra: Explain, analyze, and generate patterns, relationships, and functions using algebraic symbols, demonstrate an understanding of the properties of the basic operations, and analyze change in various contexts.
7
7
8
10
13
15
24
Geometry: Develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships and describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry.
7
7
10
9
10
10
7
Measurement: Develop concepts and apply appropriate tools and techniques to determine units of measure
7
8
9
8
7
7
8
Data Analysis & Probability: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data. Apply basic concepts of probability.
7
7
8
8
8
8
7
Total Core Items
45
45
50
50
50
50
53
 
In addition to the total core items, each grade will have ten (10) experimental test items for which no score will be given.
 
Other State-Mandated Tests
 
The 4th and 7th Grade Writing Tests were cancelled by The Mississippi Department of Education for the 2007-2008 in order to realign the curriculum, as well as to conduct intensive training among English teachers in teaching and assessing writing components.
 
The other required high school graduation tests, excluding Algebra I and English II Multiple Choice, commonly called the Mississippi Subject-Area Testing Program, are briefly described below:
 
The Biology I Subject Area Test measures a student’s knowledge of basic biological concepts, the use of science skills, and the application of biology to real-world problem solving and decision making. Students will interpret data, apply concepts, draw conclusions, and explain their own ideas. The test consists of 85 multiple-choice items which may include charts, diagrams or graphs, and two open-ended items; 71 of these items will determine the students’ score and an additional 16 experimental items will not be scored. Questions from the following assessment strands are distributed throughout the test: Chemical Basis of Life; The Cell; Genetics and the Molecular Basis of Heredity; Natural Selection and Diversity, Ecology; and Nature of Science.
 
The U. S. History from 1788 Test measures not only important historical knowledge, but also real-world skills by having students read and interpret statistical data, maps, charts, and tables. The test consists of 85 multiple-choice and two open-ended questions. Some of the multiple-choice questions include a chart, map, or other stimulus that must be interpreted accurately in order to answer the questions correctly. The open-ended questions require students to analyze a question and respond in writing. Questions from the following assessment strands are distributed throughout the test: International Relations; Domestic Affairs: Geography; Economics; and Civics. The test consists of 71 items that will determine the student’s score and an additional 16 experimental items that will not be scored.
 
The English II Writing Test measures a student’s ability to create an informative essay and is scored with a four-point scale, two (2) being the minimal passing score.
 
Subject-area tests are mandated by the State Legislature in Senate Bill 2156 to ensure that upon high school graduation Mississippi students are prepared to enter the workforce or further their education. Students are expected to earn passing scores on all subject-area tests: Algebra I, Biology I, English II Multiple-Choice, English II Writing, and U. S. History from 1877.