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Retests yield positive results for state’s 3rd graders

Photo by News Mississippi

After one out of every four students did not meet the requirements for the 3rd Grade Reading Assessment on their first try, retests are improving the state’s overall score.

The statewide pass rate for the 3rd Grade Reading Assessment increased to 82.8% (28,968 students) after students had a chance to retest before the end of the school year. The initial pass rate was 74.5% (26,057 students).

This is the first year that the state’s 3rd graders must score at level 3 or higher on the reading portion of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) English Language Arts (ELA) assessment following an amendment to the law in 2016.

According to the MDE, the retest results show the large majority of 3rd graders are meeting the highest reading standard ever required under the Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA).

“The passing score was raised to get closer to measuring proficiency. Once we raised expectations, students and teachers have proven, once again, they can meet higher academic standards,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “We must not let up on our efforts to ensure that all students are equipped with strong reading skills by the end of 3rd grade so they can be successful throughout their education.”

Of the 8,941 students who did not pass the initial test, 7,445 were retested and 2,911 passed the retest. Students have one more opportunity to retest before the start of the new school year. Districts will schedule the final retest between June 24 and July 12.

The Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) requires 3rd graders to pass a reading assessment to qualify for promotion to 4th grade, unless the student meets one of the good cause exemptions specified in the law. Exemptions apply to certain students with disabilities, students learning English or students who have been previously retained. Local school districts determine which of their students who did not pass qualify for one of the good cause exemptions for promotion to 4th grade. Students who did not retest may have met one of the good cause exemptions.

The LBPA requires schools to provide intensive reading intervention services to students retained in the 3rd grade and to students promoted to 4th grade with a good cause exemption.

In 3rd grade, students begin to make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. If they are unsuccessful, they will have difficulty understanding grade-level reading material and are at risk of falling further behind each year.

In previous years, the law required 3rd graders to score above the “lowest achievement level.” The new passing score, level 3, indicates a student is approaching grade-level expectations. Level 4 means a student has mastered grade-level reading standards.

Final school and district-passing rates for the 3rd Grade Reading Assessment and promotion and retention information will be published this fall in the Literacy-Based Promotion Act Annual Report after districts determine the final number of students who meet a good cause exemption.

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