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County officials hope test tracker will improve scores

December 5, 2011

By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
sdnedu@bellsouth.net

The Board of Trustees of the Oktibbeha County School District got its first look at a new data tracking system that will hopefully help district teachers address any issues before a student falls behind academically.
East Oktibbeha County Elementary Principal Yolanda Magee showed the board members an example of how her teachers were using the East Test Tracker system in their classrooms.
The Easy Test Tracker system, introduced into the county schools this school year, allows teachers and administrators to get instant data on both individuals or groups of students based on regular testing. The students are given short tests that are similar in design to the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition (MCT2). The East Test Tracker system gives the teachers data based on how many students got each question correct, allowing them to pinpoint what objectives the students are having trouble understanding.
“This gives teachers the ability to know exactly what each student in their classroom needs, and this can be done weekly, bi-weekly or, if the teachers feel that they need to do this, three times a week to get this information,” Magee said.
If 80 percent of the students, Magee said, passed a test or got a certain objective correct, it is pretty clear that the teaching was adequate, but they will need to set aside time to meet with those students individually who are not understanding the material. If the passing percentage is closer to 50 percent, the teachers will need to go back and re-address the subject.
“With this analysis, it breaks it down and tells you who got it and who didn’t so you can give them some intervention while you move that 80 percent on,” Superintendent James Covington said.
Magee said the system has made things easier for the teachers.
“It was difficult at first because they had to learn the system and how to maneuver the questions, but they’ve all gotten it down,” she said. “All of this is online, and we can do analysis from teacher to teacher, from question to question. “
Though the system is still new to the district, both Magee and Covington said they could see it making a difference in how the teachers made decisions.
Representatives from the Mississippi Department of Education will be present at the board’s meeting on Jan. 9 to discuss their findings from a visit to East Oktibbeha County Elementary and High School earlier in the school year.
East Oktibbeha County High School is ranked as failing, while the elementary school is ranked as low performing.
Administrators from both schools will also be at the meeting to explain what they are doing to improve their performance.

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