Recently I wrote a column on the utilization of standardized test scores to rank schools, and the perils of using this single measurement in determining the quality of a school system. Since then, I have received many comments (and had many conversations) regarding this subject and determined this subject worthy of further exploration. Many researchers have delved deeply into this subject; the general synapses of many of these research studies indicate that a family’s socioeconomic status of the student has a high correlation to test score results.
This leads one to ask “what is socioeconomic status?” According to Wikipedia, this is an analysis of a family’s household income, wealth, education level and occupation. The chart below, taken from the United States Census data, provides a quick look at some of these socioeconomic indicators for our community and region.
As stated above research has shown a correlation to socioeconomic status and test scores. However, correlation does not mean causation. The actual causes are that children in low socioeconomic households do not have the same resources as children from higher level households. This might include parents that devote time helping their children learn; in some cases having parents with the capability of assisting children with learning. Also, falling in this are the financial means to other learning possibilities that takes place due to personal economics. Poor families might not get to travel and learn geography first hand, witness culturally stimulating events such as museums nor even have access to the World Wide Web.
Research also indicates that another cause of poor performance in school is at the peer level. Students that engage with other poor performing students, or students that drop out, tend to perform poorly as well and have a higher dropout rate. In other words, hanging out with a group of people with low expectations leads to poor results.
Then we might ask, how then do some communities that are similar to Pearl River County actually do well on standardized tests? Research indicates that setting high expectations is the key variable in predicting high scores on tests. Children from higher socioeconomic areas are expected to perform well. Their parents and peers all perform well; therefore, that is the norm. The challenge for any community that wants to improve school performance is to set the bar high for students; this means setting the bar high for the community.
Community leaders should strive to create an attractive business climate, recruit higher paying industries and establish policy that can result in the community rising above the rest. If we are to place higher expectations on our students then we should certainly place high expectations on our community.
- Dual Enrollment Practical Nursing Program available at PRCC Some students possess the maturity level and academic wherewithal to begin studying toward a fruitful career path while still in high school. It is no secret that many earn most of the necessary credits towards a high school diploma by the completion of the junior year of school; thus, requiring the student to attend high school for part of the school day during their senior year. Many students have jobs or extracurricular school activities, such as band or athletics, to help round out the day. However, those not in falling into these categories often ended up with a lot of free time; fortunately policy makers in Mississippi are finding ways to assist these students.
- Senators Burks Hill and Smith along with Representative Frierson panelists for Chamber Business Review The Greater Area Picayune Chamber of Commerce held a Legislative Review for the business community, at Char Southern Steakhouse, Monday at 5:30 p.m. Panelists included State Senator District 40 Angela Burks Hill, State Senator District 47 Tony Smith, and State Rep. Herb Frierson of Poplarville. All are Republican. They spoke on the past session and bills they either authored or helped pass which impact local and state businesses.
- Investing in the community one building at a time There is a bit of a renaissance occurring in Pearl River County. This is happening one building at a time. It seems to be happening rather quietly, but the end results are going to help shape the future of the county and the cities located here.
- Medical Group gives back to community , Children’s International Medical Group is proud to announce the opening of their pediatric clinic in Picayune. The clinic is one of many throughout La. and Miss. which brings compassionate care centered around pediatric patients and the community in which they live.
Charter Bank names Westfall as VP
Charter Bank is pleased to announce the addition of Rich Westfall as vice president of business development and marketing. His responsibilities will be to lead business and community development and oversee all marketing efforts for the bank.
Weak Oracle sales, Cyprus fears weigh on US stocks
Stocks closed lower on Wall Street Thursday after Oracle’s weak sales results weighed down big U.S. technology companies. Traders also worried about Cyprus running out of time to avoid bankruptcy.
Mississippi REALTORS® hold annual REALTOR® Day at the Capitol
On Feb.7, 2013 Pearl River County REALTORS® joined more than 120 Mississippi REALTORS® at the Mississippi State Capitol to take part in REALTOR® Day at the Capitol.
More than school board needs to be changed: Part 2
Dr. Scott Alsobrooks/Guest Columnist
At quick glance, it is easy to see that the Mississippi economy will only need about 25 percent of its workforce at the bachelor’s level or higher. Most jobs still require only a high school degree, but many well paying jobs will require some sort of 2 year degree or a post high school type credential such as a certificate in welding, carpentry or plumbing.
HORNE LLP welcomes Picayune native as spring accounting intern
HORNE LLP, one of the top accounting and business advisory firms in the nation, recently welcomed Melissa Pigott of Picayune, Miss., as a spring accounting intern. A total of 26 accounting students were selected for the highly competitive internship program.
Pigott is a student at the University of Southern Mississippi and is completing her internship in assurance services in the Ridgeland, Miss., office location.
More than school board needs to be changed: Part 1
By Dr. Scott Alsobrooks/Guest Columnist
The Senate Education Committee passed Bill 2141 recently. The bill is championed by local Senator Tony Smith. While the bill would not affect Pearl River Central Schools, it would change the Picayune and Poplarville School Districts from a mix of appointed and elected board members, to all elected. An amendment was put in the bill to require board members to have at least one year of college.
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