Picayune School District updates third grade reading scores

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Updated reading scores from the third grade assessment were presented to the Picayune School District Board of Trustees during Tuesday’s meeting.

District Curriculum Coordinator Mary Williams told the Board that the initial results from the reading test showed that 92.4 percent of the 277 students who took the test passed, which put the District .8 percentage points below the state average.

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However, students who fail the test, which is required for them to go on to the fourth grade, have two attempts to pass a retest.

The first of those retests was given in May to the 21 students who failed the initial test. Of those 21 students who failed the first time, five passed and nine qualified for good cause exemption, adding 14 more students to the passing list, bumping the District’s current passing rate to 97.5 percent, Williams said. The remaining seven will be given their last chance to pass the test on the 26th of this month. Williams said that those students will be tutored by two certified teachers for six days before retaking the test.

Superintendent Dean Shaw added to the presentation that over the course of the last three years, the district was above average state wide, after all of the students had a chance to retake the test upon failing it the first time.

In 2017, 250 tested and after the second retest the District had a 100 percent passing rate and in 2016, 280 students took the test of which 99 percent passed after the second retest, Shaw said. The superintendent did not say how many received good cause exemption during those years.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, outside of a disability, the reasons to grant good cause exemption include “student who demonstrates an acceptable level of reading proficiency on an alternative standardized assessment approved by the state Board of Education,” and “student who received intensive intervention in reading for two or more years but still demonstrates a deficiency in reading and who was previously retained in kindergarten, first, second or third grade for a total of two years and has not met exceptional education criteria.”

According to previous coverage based on the results of the first test, Picayune School District was the only one in the county to not score at or above the state average in Pearl River County.

Previous coverage states that the school with the lowest average score was Nicholson Elementary. When asked, Williams said that the students who remain to take the final retest are not all from Nicholson Elementary.

For additional coverage of Tuesday’s meeting, see an upcoming edition of the Item.