JDC third graders score above average on reading assessment

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Jefferson Davis County as a whole scored above average on the initial reading assessment that Mississippi 3rd graders took last month. The Mississippi Department of Education announced May 26 that 73.9% of 31,068 Mississippi 3rd graders received a passing score last month on the initial administration of the 3rd-grade reading assessment for the 2021-22 school year.

Just under 60% of the 3rd graders in Jefferson Davis County earned a passing score during their first reading assessment leaving 40.5% that did not meet requirements.

“I believe that G. W. Carver’s numbers were better than respectable,” said JDC Superintendent Ike Haynes. Carver was a 73.5% passing rate with a 26.5% failing rate. J. E. Johnson recorded a 48.4% passing and 51.6% failing rate. “We have a lot to improve on with that 48.4 at J. E. Johnson,” Haynes added. According to Haynes, 10 more students come off the failure list at the last testing at Johnson. “Overall, we need to do a better job with early reading in our school system.” Haynes plans to implement a new reading program called “Every Jag Reads” which will hit on all points of the Fab Five of developmental reading. The Fab Five are five underlying skills that all learners need to possess in order to become great readers which are phonemic awareness, synthetic phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. Haynes says the district will also have a dyslexia screening component. “We have to have every child reading at level for third grade. That is a must, and until we do, we are fighting an uphill battle.” Haynes is up for the battle. “We have a plan, and our principals and teachers will work together to make sure our children are reading by third grade. It is the foundational component to becoming a premier school system.”

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According to MDE, the passing rate presents a preliminary snapshot of 3rd-graders’ literacy proficiency as schools emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. The last time Mississippi 3rd graders took the assessment in a normal school year was April 2019 when 74.5% of 34,998 students passed the initial test.

“The hard work of teachers, students and parents to overcome academic setbacks caused by the pandemic is paying off. The initial pass rate on this year’s 3rd-grade reading assessment is nearly the same as the pre-pandemic pass rate,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I celebrate this accomplishment and acknowledge there’s more work to be done.”

In Lawrence County, 71.9% of 3rd graders passed and 28.1% failed the initial test.

Covington County did slightly better with 73.9% passing and 26.1% failing.

In Simpson County, 68.9% passed and 31.1% failed and in Marion, 63.4% passed and 36.6% failed the assessment.

In accordance with the Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA), 3rd graders who do not pass the initial administration of the reading test are given up to two attempts to retest. After the final retest in 2019, 85.6% of 3rd graders passed the test. Students did not test in 2020 due to the pandemic. The test was given in 2021, but the passing requirement was waived so no retests were administered.

The LBPA became law in 2013 to improve reading skills of kindergarten through 3rd-grade students in public schools so every student completing the 3rd grade is able to read at or above grade level. The LBPA requires Mississippi 3rd graders to pass a reading assessment to qualify for promotion to 4th grade. An amendment to the law in 2016 raised reading-level expectations starting in the 2018-19 school year, requiring 3rd graders to score at level 3 or higher on the reading portion of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) English Language Arts (ELA) assessment.

Students who did not pass the reading assessment on their first attempt last month were retested May 9-13. The second retest window is June 20 – July 8. Some students may qualify for good cause exemptions to be promoted to 4th grade.

To see the district- and school-level initial pass rate report for 2021-22, go to mdek12.org/OPR/Reporting/Assessment/2021-22.

Final district-level pass rates will be published this fall in the Literacy-Based Promotion Act Annual Report of Performance and Student Retention for the 2021-22 school year.

Find all MDE news releases at mdek12.org/news.