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Mississippi sees rebound in latest student test scores

August 18, 2022 GMT

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — Mississippi student test scores are exceeding pre-pandemic levels in two subjects after a decline the previous year, according to results released Thursday by the state Department of Education.

The statewide results from the 2021-22 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program show a boost in test scores for English language arts and science. The percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced reached what the department said is an all-time high of 42.2% in English and 55.9% in science. Students scored 47.3% in mathematics, just shy of the pre-pandemic rate of 47.4%.

“The 2021-22 assessment results provide clear and indisputable evidence of the resilience of our students and educators and their ability to recover from the disruptions to learning,” Kim Benton, the interim state superintendent of education, said in a news release

The Mississippi Academic Assessment Program measures student achievement in four subject areas: math, English, science and U.S. history.

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In addition to increases among proficient and advanced students, the results also show that about 4% fewer students overall passed math exams this year than in 2019. Overall pass rates in English and science also didn’t reach pre-pandemic levels.

The Department of Education attributed the rising number of students scoring proficient and advanced to districts having more experience managing pandemic disruptions. The additional support districts received, including federal COVID-19 relief funds and state investments, also helped accelerate learning, the department said. Districts used the additional funds to pay for extended learning days, tutorial services and “intensive interventions.”

The increase in scores in 2021-22 after the decline in 2020-21 will likely impact district and school “accountability grades.”

Accountability grades assign a rating of A, B, C, D or F for each school and district based on measures like student achievement, individual student growth, graduation rate and participation rate. The grades rely heavily on the amount of progress students make from one year to the next, according to the Department of Education.

The Mississippi State Board of Education will release accountability grades for the 2021-22 school year at its meeting on Sept. 29.