PINE BELT (WDAM) - It is unclear for about one in four Mississippi third graders if they will advance to fourth grade after failing their first attempt at the Third Grade Reading Assessment.
The Literary-Based Promotion Act requires third graders to pass a reading assessment to advance to fourth grade, though the reading-level expectations were raised for the 2018-2019 school year.
Students must now score at a level three or higher on the reading portion of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program English Language Arts Assessment.
The Mississippi Department of Education reported Wednesday that 74.5% of students met the raised bar. The 8,941 students who did not pass will have two opportunities to pass the test before the new school year.
Here’s a breakdown of the test scores for school districts in the Pine Belt:
Click here to see a school-by-school listing of the test scores.
“This year’s assessment is a new beginning because the passing score has been raised one level to move closer to measuring proficiency,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Students need strong reading skills in order to learn other school subjects, such as science, social studies, writing and even math. I am proud of all of the students, teachers, school leaders and parents who have worked hard to help students become competent readers by the end of 3rd grade.”
Students that do not pass the raised standards are required to remain in third grade, unless the student meets the good cause exemption in the law. Exceptions are also made for some students with disabilities, students learning English and students who have been previously held back.
School districts must provide reading intervention services to students that do not advance to fourth grade and those who advance due to the good cause exemption, according to MDE.
“Literacy must remain a major focus in pre-K through 3rd grade to help students build the foundational reading skills they need to be successful throughout school,” Wright said. “As we raise expectations for students, we must do all that we can to help them meet higher academic standards.