Mississippi Teacher Council – Questions and Answers from the September/October 2017 Meetings

Teacher, Middle

Assessment and Accountability 

  • Are blank sheets of paper allowed during the writing tests for students to formulate drafts and organize thoughts? Yes
  • Can test proctors give students periodic updates on time remaining for tests verbally? Yes

  • Can a student who failed U.S. History under current state standards take the current assessment in the future, or will the student have to retake the test with the new assessment?

    The new standards for U.S. History have not yet been adopted/released and the corresponding U.S. History assessment has not yet been created. The current policy does not allow students to take legacy assessments once a new assessment has been adopted.

  • When can we get a screenshot of the computer platform/Word document for the online writing assessment so we can prepare students? This online practice area has been available since September 2017.

    A link can be found here.

  • Can the accountability task force look at the impact of typing the online writing assessment for elementary grades vs. paper/pencil writing?

    Our Technical Advisory Committee has weighed in on this question and feels that online writing is appropriate.

  • Can we explore allowing elementary students to write on paper and then scan in the writing portion?

    Writing for the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) will be online only.

  • Will the Algebra II exam required for graduation? No

  •  What’s the timeline for implementation of the Algebra II test? How does this affect current 8th grade students in Algebra I?
    1. There is no change for school year 2017-2018. The 8th graders in 2018-2019 who take Algebra I will not have to double test with 8th grade MAAP. Their 8th grade Algebra I score will count at the middle school where the student took the assessment, instead of being banked like in the past.
    2. In spring 2018, all students enrolled in Algebra II will take the field test. In the future, only students who take Algebra I in 8th grade will take the Algebra II assessment in high school.

  • When will Algebra II be piloted in districts? How can you become a pilot school?

    A field test will be given to all enrolled Algebra II students in spring 2018.

  •  Is there a way to have an aggregate score for 8th grade math and Algebra I in middle school? No


  • Will new lesson plans be developed for the new science standards? When will they be available

    The district will be responsible for developing pacing guides and lesson plans. The MDE is working on resource guides for the new standards. The goal is to develop a document that would address the following for each standard/performance objective:

  • Prior Knowledge (vertical alignment)
  • Assessment Guidance
  • Essential Understanding
  • Suggested Teaching Strategies

    These documents for grades K-8 and Biology should be available by late spring 2018. 

  • What happened to Geography in the new standards? Where can we find it in the history standards and courses?

    Geography is not required for Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) admission. IHL requires 3 ½ social studies Carnegie units, which we have included. We have left geography up to districts to include as an additional district requirement, if they so choose. Also, geography is a strand that runs throughout the K-12 standards, and it will be taught in all social studies courses, even if districts do not add the additional requirement.

  • Do Teacher Academies fall into the CTE endorsement for diplomas?  Yes

  • Can we get information on recommended course-taking patterns for each diploma endorsement track so students and parents can plan before high school?

    Yes, they have been developed and will be on our website soon.

  • What, if any, are the requirements for standards to be posted in the classroom for students to see, especially for kindergarten?

    While it is not currently an MDE requirement to have instructional standards posted in classrooms, posting of standards is a practice required by some districts as a part of their local instructional management system. During MDE monitoring visits, lesson plans must be in a visible place in the classroom and the standards referenced in those lesson plans. As a best practice, some schools post lesson objectives, either directly from the standards document or in student-friendly terms, so that students and visitors clearly understand learning goals for the class each day.

  • Why was the physical science requirement (ex., Chemistry, Physics) removed from the standards?

    Lab-based sciences were required by IHL, which included physical science, chemistry and physics. All sciences are now lab-based and students should use course patterns that correspond with programs of study, which most include physical science. We made our requirements match IHL.


For those who did not receive the one-page printout of professional development from the Mississippi Department of Education, here’s a link to resources: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ESE/literacy/professional-development-and-resources-for-teachers

And here’s a link to our Professional Development Calendar of training opportunities: http://www.trumba.com/calendars/MDE

If you are interested in learning more about launching a Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative in your school district community, you may contact Ashley Sheils, director of the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, at msglreading@gmail.com or visit http://www.msgradelevelreading.com/.

All early childhood education trainings are listed on the NEMEC website here: http://nmec.msresaservices.com/all-workshops/categories-mde/categories-early-childhood. Please share with any early childhood education center directors or teachers in your communities.