JACKSON • The Mississippi State Board of Education voted on Thursday to suspend three statewide policies regarding assessment and accountability to manage the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020-21 school year.
State and federal testing will continue as usual, but policy suspensions for schools will ease grading, testing and promotion requirements for students and educators.
Schools and districts will not be assigned A-F letter grades for their performance during the 2020-21 school year. That decision was made because the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) will not have sufficient data to calculate grades based on state and federal requirements.
Schools and districts will keep their letter grades earned during the 2018-19 school year, because of the same requirement previously being waived for the 2019-20 school year.
Current third graders will take the third grade reading/language arts assessment, but students will not be required to meet a passing score to be promoted to fourth grade for the 2021-22 school year. Students will still be required to meet all other district requirements for promotion.
All eligible students who take required end-of-course assessments, like Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History, in the 2020-21 school year are not required to meet a passing score to graduate. Students will still be required to meet all other district requirements for promotion.
MDE will calculate and report the results of all statewide assessments administered during the 2020-21 school year and submit the information and a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education to meet federal requirements for assessment and accountability.
“This year’s statewide assessments will provide valuable information about the impact of COVID-19 on learning and will help identify where accelerated learning opportunities for students are most needed,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said in a prepared statement Thursday. “The policy suspensions are intended to support schools through this intensely challenging year for educators and students.”