Mississippi has achieved the No. 1 spot in the nation for gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, with 4th grade students making the largest score gains from 2017 to 2019 in reading and mathematics, 8th grade students outpacing the nation for growth in mathematics, and 8th grade reading holding steady.
Mississippi is the only state in the nation to show significant increases in three of the four core NAEP subjects in 2019. Washington, D.C., is the only jurisdiction to show gains in three of four subjects. Nationally, scores for most NAEP subjects dropped or remained flat from 2017 to 2019.
For the first time, Mississippi 4th graders scored higher than the nation’s public school average in mathematics and tied the nation in reading.
“Academic progress in Mississippi has been powerful and sustained, proving there is no limit to what our students can accomplish,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Mississippi’s teachers have done a phenomenal job equipping students with the knowledge and skills to succeed throughout their education.”
The percentage of Mississippi students scoring proficient or above on NAEP has increased significantly over the past decade, particularly in 4th-grade mathematics, where proficiency levels nearly doubled.
“Mississippi stands out as one of just two states/jurisdictions that improved in three of the four NAEP grade and subject combinations,” said Dr. Peggy Carr, associate commissioner for assessment at the National Center for Education Statistics. “Because of its grade, 4 gains, Mississippi’s mathematics and reading scores are the highest they have ever been and are now on par with the national public average. This is meaningful progress for Mississippi.”
The 2019 NAEP scores continue Mississippi’s 10-year trend of steady increases, as the nation’s scores stagnate. Student achievement accelerated more rapidly since 2013, after the statewide implementation of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, higher academic standards with aligned assessments, a strong accountability system, and a significant investment in professional development for educators.
“A strong education system is essential to building a strong workforce and stimulating economic development,” said Scott Waller, president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council. “Mississippi’s significant progress in education is a valuable quality that sets us apart from other states.”
The 2019 NAEP results show that Mississippi students living in poverty are outperforming their peers nationally. Both black and white students from low-income homes in Mississippi achieved higher scores than the national average in all four NAEP subjects. Hispanic students from low-income families outperformed their peers nationally in three of four NAEP tested subjects.
“Mississippi has entered a new era of public education,” said Dr. Jason Dean, chair of the Mississippi State Board of Education. “Our significant improvements in teaching and learning have made Mississippi a national leader for improving student success in education.”