Lafayette County Schools test above state average, move to improve

Published 1:39 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Lafayette County School District Board awards students for their 2020-21 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program scores and announces the county’s averages from the assessment, showing the impact COVID-19 had on learning.

Certificates were granted to 41 Lafayette Upper Elementary students for their perfect MAAP scores in the English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science categories.

After the proficiency growth and all-time highs reached across the state in 2019, many schools had a hard time rebounding from COVID-19 and acclimating to hybrid-learning. The Lafayette County Schools were no exception.

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The district scores averaged higher than the statewide average in almost every category; the district saw a decline in the 3rd and 4th grade English Language Arts and 8th grade mathematics proficiency. 

The statewide average for English Language Arts is 34.9% and Lafayette scored an average of 41.15%. In mathematics, the state recorded an average of 35.1% and Lafayette recorded 52.93%. Lafayette averaged out 64.9% in the science category, which is almost 15 points higher than the state average of 50%. In the U.S. History category, Lafayette scored 54.1% compared to the state’s 47.4%.

According to Assistant Superintendent Patrick Robinson, the 5th grade math level ranked fifth out of the entire state with 62% proficiency and the district’s Algebra I score of 61.1% placed them seventh out of 142 school districts. 

The Lafayette County High School Biology results ranked them 12th with 67.5% and, in English II, the district placed 29th with 42%. U.S. History ranked 44th with 54.1%.

Although the numbers beat out the state and placed high, it shows a significant decline in proficiency from the 2018-19 MAAP results, much to the board’s concern.

The  2020-21 third grade math proficiency is 41.4% compared to 2019’s 75.4%. The seventh grade average declined 42.2% from 2019’s 77.30%. The county district’s Algebra I declined from 79.2%, a top five rank at the time, to 61.1%.

Robinson said the scores are lower, but they reflect the trials Lafayette County schools have faced.

“We had hybrid-learning and teachers and students in and out of quarantine last school year,” he Robinson. “We had one grade level that was displaced from their school. It was a year of challenge, especially with teachers learning how to teach virtually as well.”

Board member Jamie Anderson proposed working directly with principals and receiving regular progress reports to address learning-loss with their students, close the gap in their proficiency and bring their scores back up.

“We have a lot of work to do but I am confident that our schools are taking it on,” said Robinson.