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State releases kindergarten readiness assessment results

Statewide, only 36.6 percent of kindergartners have the skills they need to succeed in school, according to the fall 2019 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. All three Pearl River County school districts had average scores below the state average.

The Mississippi Department of Education released the results of the fall 2019 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment last week.

The test evaluates what children know when they enter kindergarten to help improve classroom instruction. Kindergarten students take another test at the end of the school year, so that school’s staff can track improvement in skills over the course of the year. Schools use the end of year test to see if students are on track to meet third grade reading goals.

The benchmark score for the readiness assessment is 530, which demonstrates the child has 70 percent mastery of early literacy and numeracy, according to the assessment results. Of 141 school districts, only 14 across the state had average scores that met or exceeded the 530 benchmark.

The average statewide score on the fall 2019 readiness assessment was 502, and 36.6 percent of students entering kindergarten across the state were ready to begin school. The percentage is up slightly from 36.1 percent in 2018, but that percentage has been similar over the last three years, with 36.9 percent of students kindergarten-ready in 2017 and 36.4 percent in 2016.

Students with scores between 300 and 487 are considered early emergent readers, which means they know print flows from left to right, understand printed text has meaning and can identify colors, shapes, numbers and letters. Scores between 488 and 674 are late emergent readers, which means they can identify most letters and match them to sounds, and are building a vocabulary and listening skills.

This year, the Picayune School District had 240 test takers and a scale score average of 489, which is in the category of late emergent reader below the 530 benchmark. Across the state, 85 of 141 school districts were in this category.

Nicholson Elementary School had 57 test takers and a scale score of 460. Roseland Park Elementary School had 51 test takers and a scale score of 518, which is above the state average. South Side Lower Elementary School had 73 test takers and a scale score of 481. West Side Elementary School had 59 test takers and a scale score of 502.

The Poplarville School District had 147 test takers at Poplarville Lower Elementary School and a scale score average of 481, which is in the category of early emergent reader. Across the state, 42 of 141 school districts fell into this category.

The Pearl River County School District had 252 test takers at Pearl River Central Elementary School and a scale score average of 493.