The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has released the statewide results from the 2018-19 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP), which shows student achievement has reached an all-time high in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics.
MAAP measures students’ progress toward academic goals that equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and the workforce. Mississippi teachers helped develop MAAP tests, which align with the learning goals for Mississippi classrooms. MAAP measures student performance in ELA and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in high school English II and Algebra I.
When MAAP was first administered in 2015-16, one-third of students met or exceeded grade-level expectations in ELA and mathematics. In 2018-19, closer to half of students met or exceeded expectations in each subject. ELA achievement has increased from 33.6% to 41.6% of students scoring proficient or advanced. Students scoring proficient or advanced in mathematics has jumped from 33.0% to 47.3%.
Mississippi’s plan for improving student achievement calls for at least 70% of all students to be proficient in ELA and mathematics by 2025.
“Mississippi students are outpacing the nation in learning gains thanks to their hard work and the hard work of teachers, school staff, school leaders, and parents,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Education in Mississippi is part of our state’s success story.”
MAAP tests have five levels. Students scoring at Levels 4 and 5 are considered proficient or advanced in the subject.
Since MAAP was first administered in 2016, the number of districts with greater than 45% of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA has more than tripled, and mathematics has quadrupled:
- 48 districts had greater than 45% of all students scoring Level 4 or 5 in ELA, compared to 40 in 2018, 22 in 2017 and 14 in 2016
- 62 districts had greater than 45% of all students scoring Level 4 or 5 in mathematics, compared to 52 in 2018, 32 in 2017 and 15 in 2016
Mississippi students made gains in all tested subjects and grades since 2016. A one-year comparison of results, from 2017-18 to 2018-19, showed students made significant gains in 12 out of 14 subjects and grades.
Students scoring at Level 4 or 5, the proficient or advanced categories, have a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are on the right track to being ready for college-level coursework.
Students scoring at Level 3 demonstrate a general mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade or course, and they are approaching expectations for that grade or course. Students scoring a Level 1 or 2 need more assistance in learning the content and are in need of greater supports.
Achievement also increased on all four required high school tests, Algebra I, English II, U.S. History and Biology. Students must score at Level 3 or above to pass these tests.
“Statewide assessments ensure that children in every school are achieving the learning goals for each grade level,” Wright said. “When students score proficient or advanced, parents can be assured their child’s school is providing a quality education that has prepared students to be successful in the next grade.”
Mississippi introduced new science tests in 2018-19, and more than half of students in each tested subject and grade scored at Level 4 or 5 on the more rigorous assessments.
Three school districts ranked in the top 10 statewide for student proficiency in all four tested subjects: Booneville School District, Ocean Springs School District and Petal School District. The Yazoo County School District, which became part of Mississippi’s first Achievement School District in 2019-20, was the only district to rank in the bottom 10 for student proficiency in all four tested subjects.
While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, annual assessments can provide important information about student progress and areas for improvement, especially when combined with student grades and teacher feedback.