/Mississippi students boost reading scores; math results are stagnant

Mississippi students boost reading scores; math results are stagnant

Nonprofit Mississippi News Tuesday’s results from the National Test Results show Mississippi students are making progress in reading and math scores remain stable. Tuesday’s Nation’s Report Card data, also known as the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), provided detailed data for 2017. The fourth- and eighth grade NAEP students are tested on their math and reading skills. The previous results date back to 2015. The 2017 assessment included 298,200 fourth-graders and 286,800 eighth-graders who attended both public and private schools across the 50 states. This includes Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools. The test is digitally scored and the results will be available online for the first time. The average eighth grade reading score in Mississippi increased by four points to 256. Fourth grade reading scores improved by one point to 215 over 2015 results. Nearly a third of fourth-graders (27%) were proficient or better, while 25 percent were proficient. In a statement, Carey Wright, Mississippi State Superintendent, stated that Mississippi students have made significant progress in reading and their academic standards. She also noted that Mississippi students are now more proficient in literacy and have maintained their progress on the NAEP assessment. “We cannot afford to let down on our higher expectations for students.” Mississippi did not see any improvement in eighth-grade math in 2017’s assessment. However, the state has made steady progress since 1992, when the state received its NAEP results. Nationally, 40% of fourth-graders scored at or above proficient. Mississippi is in the bottom third with 31%. In eighth grade, 22 per cent of students were proficient or better than 33 percent nationwide. In Mississippi, both white and black students continue to outperform their peers in reading and math by more than 20 percentage points. This is similar to the national trend. Hispanic students performed better than white students, but it was a smaller margin. Hispanic students saw a 10 point improvement in fourth-grade math, with an average of 239 for 2017, according to the Mississippi Department of Education. This was due to the fact that more students were tested in 2017 than in 2015. “Mississippi’s NAEP scores confirm that we are making progress in improving academic achievement. However, we still have a lot to do to ensure that every child has the opportunity to excel, regardless of their race, poverty-level, or disability. This is why the state’s strategic plan focuses on improving educational outcomes for all students,” Wright stated, referring specifically to the recently approved Mississippi Succeeds plan. Kim Benton, Chief Academic Officer at MDE, noted that there are many factors that contribute to achievement gaps among students. These include socioeconomic issues and language barriers. Benton stated that the Mississippi Succeeds program specifically addresses this issue by establishing growth plans for each subgroup. She said that the department is trying to reduce the gap by providing extra support for English language learners (and their families) — MDE recently hired an English-learner interventionist to assist districts in developing instructional strategies to increase learning opportunities for students. Benton also stated that NAEP scores are only representative of a small number of students and not of the entire population. Benton stated, “However we believe that Mississippi’s commitment to achieving the goals achieved between 2015 and 2017 was reflected in its successful implementation of rigorous learning requirements and an increased emphasis on literacy.” “Through continuous professional development of teachers we are seeing the results and we expect more growth in future.” Click here to view 2017 NAEP scores.