More Mississippi students scoring proficient on state tests

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Kayleigh Skinner, Mississippi Today

Fifth grade English Language Arts teacher Abby Posey works with students on Feb. 28, 2018.

More students are meeting or exceeding their grade-level expectations, according to state testing data from the 2017-18 school year.

The Mississippi Department of Education released annual Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) scores Thursday. This school year, 39.8 percent of students scored at the proficient or advanced level on their English Language Arts exams and 43.9 percent of students scored that high on the math assessment.

Students in grades three through eight take MAAP tests in the two subjects to measure progress. High school students take English II and algebra assessments. More than 253,400 students took the assessments in the 2017-18 school year.

The students can earn either a minimal (1), basic (2), pass (3), proficient (4) or advanced (5), and this year the number of students deemed proficient or advanced increased in both subjects, something State Superintendent Carey Wright praised in a statement.

“This year’s assessment results show the major strides students, schools and districts have made toward improving student achievement statewide,” Wright said. “There is no limit to what students can accomplish when they are challenged to succeed and provided with high quality instruction and support.”

The results show what department officials deemed significant results, with a 4.9 percentage point increase from the previous year in students proficient or advanced in English Language Arts and a 7.1 percent jump in math for the same criteria.

In both subjects, nearly three-quarters of students scored at level three or above — that level demonstrates “a general mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade or course,” according to MDE.

English II test takers saw a 3.3 percent dip in the amount of students scoring proficient or advanced with 44.5 percent; algebra I results increased by 4.2 percent to 46.6 percent.

An achievement gap is present when the data is broken down by demographics. White and Asian students outperformed other minorities in both subjects, although each subgroup saw an increase in the percentage of proficient students. In 2017, 23.5 percent of the state’s African American students scored proficient; this year that figure increased to 27.9 percent. White students increased from 52.7 to to 58 percent.

Wright said her department is looking at developing additional resources for districts and teachers to address the gap.

Top 10 performing school districts in math (charter schools are not included because they do not serve all grades)

  • Petal School District
  • Enterprise School District
  • Booneville School District
  • Oxford School District
  • Biloxi Public School District
  • Ocean Springs Public School District
  • Clinton Public School District
  • Union Public School District
  • Union County School District
  • DeSoto County School District

Top 10 Performing Districts in English Language Arts (charter schools are not included because they do not serve all grades)

  • Petal School District
  • Enterprise School District
  • Madison County School District
  • Ocean Springs School District
  • Oxford School District
  • Clinton Public School District
  • Union County School District
  • Long Beach School District
  • Booneville School District
  • Pass Christian School District