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The SATP2, Mississippi’s Subject Area Testing Program

Since the 2001-2002 school year, in order to earn a high school diploma in public schools in Mississippi, students must pass four subject area tests to meet the graduation requirements.  The Mississippi Student Achievement Improvement Act, approved by the Mississippi Senate in 1999, states that standards for high school graduation shall include student “mastery of minimum academic skills as measured by assessments developed and administered by the State Board of Education.”  To meet the intent of this legislation four subject area tests were developed.

The SATP2 (Subject Area Testing Program) consists of four academic, end-of-course tests. Students are assessed on the content at the completion of the course in Algebra I, Biology I, English II, and U.S. History.  Students are required to continue to retest until they earn a passing score.

Each content area assesses framework competencies and provides multiple-choice items. Testing resources for the SATP2 can be found on the MDE (Mississippi Department of Education) website, www.mde.k12.ms.us, including guides for parents and teachers, information on best practices, review templates, and practice tests.

The Algebra I Subject Area Test, consisting of multiple-choice items, measures a student’s knowledge and skill level in applied algebra. Many questions contain charts, graphs, or diagrams that are used to determine the correct answer.  Questions from the following five competencies are distributed throughout the test: Number and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis and Probability.

The Biology I Subject Area Test measures a student’s knowledge of basic biological concepts, the use of science skills (questioning, observing, measuring), and the application of biology to real-world problem solving and decision-making.  Students will interpret data, apply concepts, and draw conclusions in answering the questions.  The test consists of multiple-choice items, which may include charts, diagrams, or graphs.  Questions from the following competencies are distributed throughout the test: Inquiry, Biochemical Basis of Life, Living Organisms and their Environment, Biological Organization, Heredity, and Diversity and Biological Change.

The U.S. History Subject Area Test measures historical knowledge and the interpretation of historical texts, statistical data, maps, charts, and tables.  The test consists of multiple-choice questions, some of which include a chart or map that must be interpreted accurately.  Questions from the following content strands are distributed throughout the test: Domestic Affairs, Global Affairs, Civil Rights/Human Rights, Economics, and Culture.

The English II Subject Area Test encompasses multiple-choice items that determine the student’s knowledge of language arts, reading comprehension, and effective writing skills. The questions measure the four competencies addressing vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing, and grammar.

Parents can assist their student in passing the SATP2 components by providing encouragement and incorporating several strategies for ensuring optimum performance. For example, by providing challenging and interesting reading material, by closely monitoring their student’s progress in school, and by maintaining contact with their student’s teachers parents are able to impact student growth. Make sure that your child participates in study resources, such as early morning help sessions or after-school tutoring sessions.  Emphasize that consistent study throughout the year is far more effective than “cramming.  Parents should know the dates of the SATP2 tests (listed on the GSD website calendar) and make sure that their student has adequate rest the night before the tests and a good breakfast before each test.  Explore the resources on the MDE (Mississippi Department of Education) website to access parent guides and sample questions.  And foremost, believe in your student’s ability to succeed!
photo of Dr. David Daigneault