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The New Albany and Union County school districts scored above the state average on the fall kindergarten readiness test.

The state average score on the test was 502 while the New Albany School District’s average score was 508, and the Union County School District’s average score was 514.

"Our school district has made a financial commitment to early childhood education and the pre-K program at New Albany Elementary School by placing certified teachers in the pre-K classrooms,” said New Albany School District Superintendent Lance Evans. “This has had a significant impact on having some of our students ready for kindergarten."

Union County School District officials said they are continuing to make gains in school readiness.

“Our district's investment in pre-kindergarten classes at each of the schools is one reason for this trend,” a Union County School District statement said. “However, we realize we still have work to do in this area.”

Officials with the Union County School District said they would like all children to have access to a high-quality pre-k program.

“Because pre-K is not state funded, the UCSD can only offer tuition-based programs,” the statement added. “The Union County School District will continue to partner with pre-K coalitions like Excel by 5, which provides training to families and daycares to improve school readiness.”

Even though the Union County School District’s score is above the state average, more work needs to be done to get students ready for the first grade, officials said.

 “We have dedicated kindergarten teachers who will work to grow each and every child this year,” the statement added. “That growth is where we will measure our success.” 

Research shows that 85 percent of students scoring 530 or higher at the beginning of kindergarten are on track to be proficient in reading by the end of third grade.

Below is a breakdown of how each school in the Union County School District scored on the test:

East Union Attendance Center, 502; Ingomar Attendance Center, 501; Myrtle Attendance Center, 527; and West Union Attendance Center, 526.

The test is also given to kindergarten students in the spring. A spring score of 681 “places students on a trajectory” to meet third grade reading expectations, according to the Mississippi Department of Education.

Evans expects his district’s score to increase when the test is given again in the spring.

“Our teachers and students are working very hard to exceed our expectations,” Evans said. “Our teachers and staff are committed to ensuring that students have the readiness skills to develop as readers and learners throughout their school experiences."

The New Albany and Union County school districts’ average scores fell into the category of “late emergent reader.” That means students can identify most letters of the alphabet and can match most of the letters to their sounds.

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