More third graders pass state reading test

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, June 5, 2019


NATCHEZ — Fewer than 20 percent of Mississippi third-graders failed the 3rd Grade Reading Assessment after the second attempt, according to data released Tuesday by the Mississippi Department of Education.

In 2016, the test’s standards were increased after an amendment to the Literacy-Based Promotion Act passed.

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The increased standards require students to achieve a Level 3 grade or higher on the assessment in order for them to be promoted to the 4th grade unless students meet good cause exemption requirements.

MDE said results from the first retest in May showed the statewide pass rate for the assessment increased to 82.8 percent or 28,968 students from 74.5 percent or 26,057 students who tested last April.

“The passing score was raised to get closer to measuring proficiency,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Once we raised expectations, students and teachers have proven, once again, they can meet higher academic standards. We must not let up on our efforts to ensure that all students are equipped with strong reading skills by the end of third grade so they can be successful throughout their education.”

MDE said of the 8,941 students statewide who did not pass the initial test, 7,445 were retested and 2,911 passed the retest.

Students have one more opportunity to retest before the start of the new school year, which each district will schedule between June 24 and July 12.

In Natchez Adams School District, the third attempt would be offered July 12 to students who have not passed following remediation courses later this month, said Deputy Superintendent Zandra McDonald.

MDE data showed only 56.5 percent of students in the district passed the ELA assessment on the first attempt in April.

McDonald said more students from NASD did pass on their second attempt, however the latest results would not be broken down by individual districts until after results of the final retest are released this fall, McDonald said.

“The district received a list of students who retested that shows whether they passed or failed. Based upon that list, students who did not pass the first retake will be provided remediation coursed over the summer,” McDonald said.

“Right now, we are still determining which students have special cause exemptions and we are working to provide instruction for those students who were not successful. Hopefully, over the course of the next couple of weeks those students will benefit from the summer remediation course and pass the next retake on July 12.”