Spring test results show the majority of pre-kindergarten students participating in the state’s early learning collaboratives scored at or above the target score for exiting pre-K.

Nearly 78 percent of students in the state’s 10 early learning collaboratives scored at or above the target score, a 6.5 percent increase from last year’s test results.

State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright, who has long pushed for expanding early childhood education across the state, said the test results are evidence of the importance of pre-K.

“Mississippi’s Early Learning Collaboratives continue to show the impact of high-quality early childhood education and the powerful effect it has on student achievement,” Wright said. “I am proud of the work of all of the teachers, administrators and pre-K students. High-quality early childhood education programs are one of the most effective ways to give children a strong start to school and life.”

The state’s early learning collaboratives were created under the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013, which provides funding to local communities to establish and support quality early childhood education and development services. The Legislature provided $3 million in the first there years for the collaboratives and then increased to $4 million in 2016.

The program funded 10 collaboratives last school year, comprised of 51 sites that served 1,645 students.

More detailed results of the 2017 Pre-Kindergarten Assessment for Early Learning Collaboratives can be found here.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.