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AMS eighth graders lead the pack in testing

A group of Andalusia Middle School students have set the bar high for future classes, achieving some of the highest scores in school history.

This year’s eighth grade class recently received word that they scored high in all four of the tests they had to take at the end of their seventh grade year, AMS Principal Victoria Anderson said.

The group scored 95 percent on the reading portion of the Alabama Reading and Math Test.

Superintendent Ted Watson said that placed those students in the “top 5 percent of all school systems.”

On the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing, the same group of students scored 93 percent, which is up from just 83 percent the year before.

Teacher Marci Farley said she is “so proud of these kids.”

Farley said she and fellow teacher Becky Garner taught the students the same materials as they did the previous class, but they started earlier in the year.

“I started as early as September, and they didn’t take the test until April,” she said.

The two teachers divided up the four modes of writing and each taught two, Farley said.

“I taught narrative and persuasive, and Mrs. Garner taught expository and descriptive,” she said.

Students receive a score of one to four, with four meaning the student exceeds the standards. Twenty-three of the 130 students who took the test received four’s and 97 received three’s, which means they met the standards.

Garner said she “just couldn’t be any prouder.”

“We never let up in making sure they never gave up,” she said. “We made the highest results in AMS history.”

Garner and Farley said these students were the last group to be required to take the ADAW, but said they plan to create their own version, which they will aptly name AMSDAW.

“It’s just an invaluable tool that we need to use,” Garner said. “Effective communication is everything.”

Language arts and writing aren’t the only subjects these students excelled in.

The students scored 86 percent on the Alabama Science Assessment, science teacher Joey Caldwell said.

“The big thing is they increased their score 20 percentage points form 66 to 86 from the fifth to the seventh grade,” he said. “The test is all life science.”

Caldwell said the scores put AMS as ninth in the state out of the school systems.

“We would have liked for them to have been a higher,” he said. “AMSTI is a great program. It gives them a chance to use it in a more beneficial way.

“I am thoroughly pleased with how they grasped information and applied it to the test,” he said.

In addition, the group scored 89 percent on the math portion of the ARMT.

Anderson is exceptionally proud of the students and teachers involved.

“Our kids have done a wonderful job,” she said. “They really did a great job in all scores from math and science to reading and math. Great teachers make my job easy.”

Seventh grade English and reading teacher Becky Garner helps Tamara Griffin during class on Friday. Also shown is McKenzie Lanier. | Courtesy photo