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Mississippi test scores on the rise

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The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released statewide results from the 2017-18 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP), which shows achievement is continuing to rise among all student groups.

MAAP assesses student performance in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics in grades 3-8, English II and Algebra I.

Overall, students showed statistically significant gains in both ELA and mathematics. The percentage of students meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations on ELA assessments increased from 36.7 percent in 2016-17 to 39.8 percent in 2017-18, and from 38.6 percent to 43.9 percent on mathematics assessments.

Mississippi’s plan for improving student achievement calls for 70 percent of all students to be proficient in ELA and mathematics by 2025.

“This year’s assessment results show the major strides students, schools and districts have made toward improving student achievement statewide,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “There is no limit to what students can accomplish when they are challenged to succeed and provided with high-quality instruction and support. I am incredibly proud of our students, teachers and school leaders.”

The MAAP assessments measure students’ progress toward academic goals that equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in jobs and college. Mississippi teachers helped develop the tests, which are aligned to the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards.

MAAP tests have five levels. Students scoring at Levels 4 and 5 are considered proficient or advanced in the subject.

The MAAP results showed the following overall results:

  • 40 districts had greater than 45 percent of all students scoring Level 4 or 5 in ELA, compared to 22 districts in 2017 and 14 in 2016
  • 52 districts had greater than 45 percent of all students scoring Level 4 or 5 in mathematics, compared to 32 districts in 2017 and 15 in 2016

Comparison of grade-level results from 2016-17 to 2017-18:

Students scoring at Level 4 or 5, the proficient or advanced categories, are meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations. The scores suggest that students 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.

All student groups showed gains in both ELA and mathematics, though achievement gaps among different student population groups persist. District-wide proficiency rates for all student groups are now included with the assessment results report.

Statewide, students made gains in 11 out of 14 tested grades and subjects. The only subject which showed a statistically significant decrease is English II, which dropped 3.3 percent. Grade 4 ELA showed the greatest gain with a 13.8 percent jump in the number of students scoring proficient or advanced.

“Our students are making historic gains in achievement levels and have made Mississippi one of the fastest improving states in the nation,” Wright said. “Mississippi students are rewriting the story about public education in our state.”

While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, annual assessments measure performance of meeting grade-level expectations and can provide important information about student progress and areas for improvement, especially when combined with student grades and teacher feedback.

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