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State test results for 2020-2021 school year released

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 12:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - State test results for the 2020-2021 school year have been released, providing a new baseline for students across the state who as schools bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, proficiency in both mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) decreased across Mississippi. It’s the first time the state has seen a decrease since introducing the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) in 2016. In 2019. Statewide proficiency levels fell in all grades except grade 8 ELA, which increased 0.1% (35.6%) since 2019 (35.5%).

Subject20212019Change
Mathematics Proficiency35.1%47.4%-12.3%
ELA Proficiency34.9%41.6%-6.7%

One district in the state to not see a decrease in proficiency was Ocean Springs School District, which actually saw a jump in ELA scores.

“For our students to show continued growth and improved proficiency during such a difficult time in their lives is such an outstanding accomplishment,” said Dr. Bonita Coleman, superintendent of Ocean Spring School District (OSSD). “Continuing the learning path for all of our students and ensuring no student’s learning is negatively impacted during this unprecedented time has been of the utmost priority for OSSD. We are thankful for all of our dedicated educators and students who helped ensure a worldwide pandemic did not stand in the way of our continued progress.”

Click here to open an Excel document showing MAAP results for each school in South Mississippi (Note: Different grade levels are noted on tabs at the bottom of the workbook. Subjects are color-coded blue for ELA and green for math. Certain mobile versions may not support this document.)

MAAP measures students’ progress toward academic goals that equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and the workforce. Mississippi teachers helped develop MAAP tests, which align with the learning goals for Mississippi classrooms. MAAP measures student performance in ELA and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in high school English II and Algebra I.

There are five levels of scoring that range from minimal level performance to an advanced level:

Minimal – Level 1

A student performing below the Minimal level inconsistently demonstrates the knowledge or skills that define minimal level performance.

Basic – Level 2

Students at the Basic level demonstrate partial mastery of the knowledge and skills in the course and may experience difficulty in the next grade or course in the content area. These students are able to perform some of the content standards at a low level of difficulty, complexity, or fluency as specified by the grade-level content standards.

Passing – Level 3

Students at the Passing level demonstrate general mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade or course in the content area. These students are able to perform approaching or at the level of difficulty, complexity, or fluency specified by the grade-level content standards.

Proficient – Level 4

Students at the Proficient level demonstrate solid academic performance and mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade or course in the content area. These students are able to perform at the level of difficulty, complexity, or fluency specified by the grade-level content standards.

Advanced – Level 5

Students at the Advanced level consistently perform in a manner clearly beyond that required to be successful in the grade or course in the content area. These students are able to perform at a high level of difficulty, complexity, or fluency as specified by the grade-level content standards.

Click here to see MAAP results for all schools in Mississippi

Students had their school year cut short in spring 2020 when the pandemic shut down school buildings in Mississippi and the United States. Though most Mississippi students had access to in-person learning most of the 2020-21 school year, hybrid learning, quarantining and numerous weather-related school building closures created obstacles to teaching and learning.

Due to COVID disruptions, grade 3 students were not required to meet a passing score on the reading assessment to be promoted to grade 4. Students still had to meet all other district requirements for promotion. Students who took required end-of-course high school assessments including Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History were not required to meet a passing score.

“The disruption and stress caused by COVID-19 has had an impact on student performance in every state in the country and the impact has been more marked in mathematics than in English Language Arts,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I am proud of the way Mississippi students, families, teachers and school leaders persevered through the most challenging school year of their lives.”

The MDE provided districts pandemic-related flexibilities to administer the assessments. Schools provided safe testing environments to all students including full-time virtual learners who took assessments at schools. The overall participation rate for assessments was 96.9%, close to the 98%-99% rates of previous years.

Pre-pandemic, statewide student proficiency rates increased every year since MAAP tests were first administered. By 2019, Mississippi had become a national leader in education because students were making faster progress than nearly every other state. Several factors contributed to the steady rise in student achievement including the implementation of higher academic standards and statewide support to teachers to help students reach higher standards. The effective implementation of several education reform laws and policies that developed or strengthened early childhood education, literacy instruction, school and district accountability, and advanced learning opportunities for high school students.

“This year establishes a new baseline for statewide assessments,” Wright said. “As the world moves to recover from the pandemic, I am confident Mississippi students will progress just as rapidly as they did before.”

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