By STEVEN NALLEY
The Oktibbeha County School District board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the district’s main office, with OCSD principals poised to report improvements across the board in the third round of practice tests for the Mississippi Curriculum Test.
The Mississippi Department of Education uses the MCT to calculate the Quality Distribution Index for schools and school districts, giving them labels: failing, low performing, academic watch, successful, high performing or star school. Out of a possible 300 points, the MDE considers anything below 100 failing.
Several Oktibbeha County schools received low QDIs in 2011.
East Oktibbeha County Elementary School was listed as low performing, with a QDI of 101. East Oktibbeha County High School was listed as failing, with a QDI of 96. West Oktibbeha County High School was listed as low performing, with a QDI of 104, and West Oktibbeha County Elementary was listed as being on academic watch with a QDI of 147.
Jerome Smith, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment with OCSD, said the latest round of practice tests show improvements over the 2011’s QDIs at all schools, but the practice QDIs as measured by OCSD are only estimates. Smith said the estimated QDIs from the practice tests were 112 for EOCES, 120.6 for EOCHS, 172.4 for WOCHS and 165.6 for WOCES.
“We were shooting at a 165 QDI on the last assessment,” Smith said. “We had two schools reach that, and two were slightly below it. We hope to obtain that if they show the same gains within the next four to five weeks as they did within the previous five to six weeks.”
James Covington, OCSD superintendent, said the improved practice scores illustrate the efforts all the county schools’ students and teachers are making to improve.
“What we’re doing is we’re really dissecting the data and what kids are weak in,” Covington said. “We’re building clusters of children to address (similar) weaknesses. We’re just working hard. It’s headed in the right direction.”
Smith said the schools have also put much emphasis on instructional alignment and improved consistency among its teachers.
“We’ve intensified our after-school tutorial services,” Smith said, “and as a whole, we’ve been more focused, provided professional development and continued ongoing evaluations all throughout the year.”