Reading scores released, Picayune at bottom

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tuesday, the Mississippi Department of Education released this year’s results from the third grade Mississippi Assessment Program English Language Arts test.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, the 2013 Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires students to pass their third grade reading test before being advanced to the fourth grade.

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The piece of legislation was later amended in 2016 to include an Individual Reading Plan (IRP) that outlines methods to help a student catch up in their reading skills if a deficiency is noted by teachers, the website states.

Results from this year’s test show that statewide 93.2 percent of third grade students passed the reading test, a 1.2 percent increase from the previous year.   

Picayune School District received the lowest score in the county, and the second lowest score along the Gulf Coast, with 92.4 percent of 277 students passing the test.

Of the four elementary schools in the Picayune School District, Nicholson Elementary had the lowest percentage at 83.1. The other three schools showed a passing percentage of 94.3 or higher.

Students will have two more chances over the summer to pass the test in order to move on to the fourth grade, said Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell.

Harrell said the first retest showed a passing rate of 97 percent. Seven students from three schools will take their second retest on June 26 and will be tutored during the summer, he said.

Mary Williams, curriculum coordinator for Picayune School District, said she will meet with the staff and formulate a plan to improve the scores.

Williams said summer classes provide a comprehensive workbook to enhance reading and math skills among second graders so they have an easier transition to third grade. The workbook is also offered to third graders who show deficiencies, she said.

Harrell said the District’s goal is to have children pass the test in their first attempt.

He said each elementary school principal will review the third grade curriculum, and those from K thru 12, to find paths for improvement.

Superintendents from Pearl River Central and Poplarville School Districts were not available for comment by press time Wednesday.