Mississippi high school teachers being surveyed about U.S. History test

Mississippi high school teachers being surveyed about U.S. History test
Mississippi requires the U.S. History test but the federal government does not. Teachers are being surveyed to see if they think it should continue. Source: WLBT

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Mississippi high school teachers are being asked to complete a survey on whether they think the state should continue requiring the U.S. History test.

“That is the only assessment we give that is not required by the federal government,” explained Mississippi Professional Educators Executive Director.

It became the last action item for the state’s testing task force to undertake. The group met throughout the school year to see if there are ways to reduce or streamline the amount of testing statewide.

“This is kind of where the rubber hit the road. If we want to reduce testing in a real sense, this is the one that could be reduced and could be done just by state action,” noted Clinton Public School Superintendent Dr. Tim Martin.

Several years there have been questions about students who have failed the test and are concerned with whether they’ll be able to walk at graduation.

“I think it’s caused problems because it’s not taken until students are juniors," Martin said. "Whereas, English II is taken at 10th grade. Algebra is usually taken at 10th, 9th or 10th grade. Biology is taken at 9th or 10th grade. So, you have more lead time if you don’t pass the test to use the alternate routes.”

But the pass/fail rate of the test did not factor into the task force decision to survey teachers. They are focused solely on how to streamline testing statewide.

“Anecdotally, as the director of an association we have noticed a larger number of educators retiring in the past few years and several of them have cited the emphasis on testing, the amount of time that’s spent on testing," added Riley. "And they really feel like it has decreased the opportunity they have for that true classroom instruction between a teacher and their students.”

The state board of education would make the ultimate decision if any change were to be made. But the task force wanted teachers to feel like their voices are being heard.

Copyright 2019 WLBT. All rights reserved.