Kindergarten readiness scores fall during pandemic

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

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NATCHEZ — The percentage of Mississippi children considered ready for kindergarten has fallen during the pandemic, according to state test results released Friday.

The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment showed 31.8% of kindergarteners scored kindergarten-ready this year, according to the Mississippi Department of Education. That is down from 36.6% in 2019 and 36.1% in 2018. Scores from 2020 were not released.

The test evaluates early literacy skills.

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“The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment is further proof of the pandemic’s impact on students in the state,” Carey Wright, the state superintendent of education, said in a press release.

“Mississippi’s kindergarten teachers are outstanding. Yearly, their hard work leads to significant gains for the state’s youngest students, and I anticipate seeing those gains when students are retested in spring 2022,” Wright added.

In Natchez Adams County School District, 31.5% of students tested showed they were kindergarten ready with a district-wide average score of 479. That is two points below the district’s average in the fall of 2018, which was 481.

The score to be considered ready for kindergarten is 530, which means students can identify most letters of the alphabet, match most letters to their sounds and are building their vocabulary and understanding of print. Research shows 85% of students who score 530 or higher on the assessment at the beginning of kindergarten are proficient in reading at the end of 3rd grade, the department said.

The average score by school in Natchez Adams School District are as follows: Frazier Elementary showed an average score of 464 with 26.2% of students tested scoring a 530 or higher; Gilmer McLaurin Elementary showed an average score of 461 with 28.4% of students tested scoring a 530 or higher and Susie B. West Elementary showed an average score of 510 with 39.47% of students tested scoring a 530 or higher.