Accountability grades have risen throughout the Magnolia State for the 2022-23 school year, according to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).
This year’s grades show 87 percent of schools and 91 percent of districts earned a grade of C or higher, an increase to the 2021-22 school year’s results where 81 percent of schools and 87 percent of districts reached the same standard.
“I want to thank all the hardworking teachers, parents, and students who helped us get here. These results are a testament to years of effort to successfully strengthen Mississippi’s education system,” Governor Tate Reeves remarked. “It is because of you that the eyes of the nation have turned to our state as a model for how to effectively educate students. The Mississippi Miracle is real, and our kids are learning more than ever before.”
In 2016, when the Mississippi State Board of Education set a goal that all schools and districts be rated C or higher, the percentage of schools and districts meeting this goal was 62 percent.
Now, seven years later, the overall percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced has reached an all-time high in mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA), science, and U.S. History.
“This year’s school and district grades provide further evidence that Mississippi teachers, school leaders, and staff have done an outstanding job helping students accelerate learning after the disruptions of the pandemic,” Dr. Raymond Morgigno, interim state superintendent of education, stated. “I am confident our schools will build upon these achievements so that all students are proficient and prepared for success after high school.”
Mississippi’s accountability grades help teachers, school leaders, parents, and communities know how well their local schools and districts are serving their students.
The components of the state’s accountability system are based on state and federal law and State Board policy. They include:
- Student proficiency and growth rates in ELA and Mathematics in grades 3-8
- Growth of the lowest performing 25 percent of students in ELA and Mathematics
- Science proficiency in grades 5 and 8
- English Learner progress toward becoming proficient in the English language
- Performance on the ACT and high school Algebra I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History assessments
- Student participation and performance in advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement and dual credit/dual enrollment courses
- Four-year graduation rate
School and district improvements in 2022-23 extend to school districts under state leadership because of poor academic performance or a state of emergency.
The majority of these districts have made steady improvements since their state takeover:
- Tunica County School District: Maintained a B for the second consecutive year. The district achieved a C in 2018, improving upon a four-year track record of D and F grades. The district will return to local control in January 2024.
- Noxubee County School District: Achieved a C, improving upon its D rating in 2022, and emerging from its pattern of earning an F every year since 2016.
- Holmes County School District: Maintained a C for the second consecutive year, improving from an F in 2019.
- Achievement School District (ASD): The Humphreys County portion of the ASD improved its grade from an F to a D; the Yazoo City portion remained an F.
“I am especially proud of the students in our districts under state leadership,” Morgigno added. “These students have proven they can achieve at higher levels when teachers and leaders raise expectations and remain singularly focused on helping to improve student outcomes.”
Since 2020, school districts and the state have invested federal pandemic relief funds in programs and services to overcome pandemic disruptions and accelerate student learning.
The additional funds enabled districts to pay for extended learning days, tutorial services, and intensive interventions, among other supports.
State investments include the Mississippi Connects digital learning initiative, which provided all students with a computer device, and services including on-demand tutoring, high-quality digital curriculum subscriptions, and digital learning coaches for teachers.
Pandemic-relief funds for these services will end in September 2024 and school districts will be responsible for paying for any services they wish to continue.
Click here to read the MDE’s full report of accountability grades in the state.