MDE releases third grade testing blueprint

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 21, 2015

This week the Mississippi Department of Education released a third grade reading test blueprint and sample questions.
According to a MDE release, starting with the 2014-2105 school year, the Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion Act will require third grade students to read at or above grade level in order to advance to the fourth grade.
Third graders who score the lowest achievement level on the reading summative assessment will be retained, unless he or she meets the good cause exemptions for promotions as outlined in the law, the release states.
According to the release, parents can view a sample test and questions, which have also been provided to schools. The blueprint consists of 24 sample questions and a thorough description of the summative assessment.
The third grade reading summative assessment will be administered in public schools from April 10 through 23, the release states. Students who do not pass will have two occasions to retest from May 18 to 22 and between June 29 and August 7, the release states.
The students will answer 50 multiple choice questions based on short questions and passages up to 55 words long, the release states.
The test is computer adaptive. This means that questions will get more or less difficult depending on whether a student answered the previous question correctly, the release states.
According to the release, components of the test include comprehension of literature and informational text, use of vocabulary and foundational reading skills including phonics, word recognition and fluency.
The MDE also released sample question.
The first phonics and word recognition question is, “Which does the word armful mean?” Students can choose from three answers; the first is “as much as the arms can carry,” the second is “one who works with his arms” and lastly, “something that looks like arms.”
The second question centers around fluency. “A shark never runs out of teeth. If a shark loses a tooth, another tooth takes its place. During its life a shark grows thousands of teeth! Which tells about the paragraph?” Possible answers include, “it tires to get you to buy a shark book,” “it explains true things about sharks” and “it tells you a story about a shark.”
The last example question concerns key ideas and details. “Once a week, Hiro goes to a game group after school. Each week, he asks a new friend to come with him. He likes to talk to the other kids in the group too. Hiro likes it when everyone has a fun time together. Which word best tells about Hiro?”
Test takers can choose from “bossy,” “friendly” and “quiet.’’
Parents can view the test blueprint at and click on “3rd grade reading summative assessment sample item booklet.”

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