Districts see spring 2015 ACT scores

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This month, the Mississippi Department of Education released the school-and district-level passing rates for the spring 2015 ACT for juniors and the fall 2015 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment results for public viewing.
According an MDE release, the ACT was devised to measure the skills taught by high school teachers and the expectations of entry-level college courses. During the 2014-2015 school year the Mississippi Legislature devoted $1.3 million to juniors taking the college entrance exam.
The ACT consists of testing in four areas ¬– English, math, reading and science. The results determine a student’s benchmark score, which is the minimum needed in a subject area to determine if he or she will have a 50 percent chance of achieving a B or higher or an almost 75 percent chance of achieving a C or higher in the corresponding college course, including English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology, the release states.
According to the results, 41 percent of Mississippi juniors met the benchmark score in English, while 16 met the science benchmark score. Overall, 9 percent of Mississippi juniors met all four college readiness benchmark scores, the release states.
In September, the MDE released the preliminary results for the first statewide administration of the ACT for all Mississippi juniors, which revealed an average composite score of 17.6, the release states.
The average composite score for the 175 juniors from the Picayune School District was 17.8. In the Pearl River County School District, 190 juniors took the test and their average score was 18.8. Finally, 133 juniors from the Poplarville School District took the ACT and the average score was 17.8.
“With this first-year administration of the ACT to all juniors, we now have a baseline for measuring student progress over time,” State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said in the release. “These ACT results also provide schools with an analysis about course completion patterns linked to ACT performance and help them make programming decisions for their students’ senior year.”
Students who scored below the benchmark will be eligible to take Southern Regional Education Board college prep classes during their senior year, the release states.
This year, kindergarteners took the Kindergartners Readiness Assessment test and the results revealed that two out of every three kindergartners enter school unprepared to learn, the release states.
During the first month of the 2015-2016 school year, 38,000 kindergartners took the STAR Early Literacy Exam. About 64 percent of students scored below the benchmark score of 530, the release states.
According to the release, the benchmark score indicates a student’s mastery of at least 70 percent of early reading skills, the release states. The average score for the state was 502.
The exam gauges a kindergartner’s ability to recognize letters, match letters to their sounds and recognize that print flows from left to right, the release states.
In the Picayune School District, 264 students were tested and the scale score average was 499. In the Pearl River County School District 191 students were tested with an average score of 502. Finally, 146 students were tested from the Poplarville School District and scored an average of 515.
“Once again, this year’s results underscore the need to increase access to high-quality early childhood education for children throughout the state,” Wright said in the release. “High-quality early childhood education makes a tremendous impact on children’s social, emotional and academic growth and gives them a strong start to success in school and life.”
Last year, 34.6 percent scored above the readiness benchmark and this year, that percentage increased to 36.1, the release states.
According the release, kindergartners will complete a post-test in the spring to assess their progress.
More results can be found here:
Spring 2015 Statewide ACT for Juniors: http://reports.mde.k12.ms.us/report1/r2014-15.aspx
Fall 2015 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment: http://reports.mde.k12.ms.us/report1/r2015-16.aspx

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