JACKSON • Annual results from the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program, which monitors student achievement through statewide testing, were released by the Mississippi Department of Education Thursday.

The comprehensive analysis shows student achievement reached an all-time high in English Language Arts and mathematics from the 2018-19 testing.

Mississippi teachers helped develop MAAP tests, which align with the learning goals for Mississippi classrooms. MAAP measures student performance in ELA and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in high school English II and Algebra I.

When MAAP was first administered in the 2015-16 school year, one-third of students met or exceeded grade-level expectations in ELA and mathematics.

In 2018-19, closer to half of students met or exceeded expectations in each subject. ELA achievement has increased from 33.6 percent to 41.6 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced. Students scoring proficient or advanced in mathematics has jumped from 33.0 percent to 47.3 percent.

“Mississippi students are outpacing the nation in learning gains thanks to their hard work and the hard work of teachers, school staff, school leaders, and parents,” said Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Education in Mississippi is part of our state’s success story.”

Mississippi’s plan for improving student achievement calls for at least 70% of all students to be proficient in ELA and mathematics by 2025.

MAAP tests currently have five levels. Students scoring at Levels 4 and 5 are considered proficient or advanced in the subject.

Since first administering the test in 2016, the number of districts with greater than 45 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA has more than tripled, and mathematics has quadrupled, according to results.

“Statewide assessments ensure that children in every school are achieving the learning goals for each grade level,” said Wright. “When students score proficient or advanced, parents can be assured their child’s school is providing a quality education that has prepared students to be successful in the next grade.”

Seven school districts ranked in the top 10 statewide for student proficiency in both ELA and mathematics: Booneville, Clinton, Enterprise, Ocean Springs, Oxford, Petal and Union County.

Eight districts ranked in the bottom 10: Amite County, Holmes County, Humphreys County, Jefferson County, Noxubee County, West Bolivar Consolidated, Wilkinson County and Yazoo City.

According to MDE, “While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, annual assessments can provide important information about student progress and areas for improvement, especially when combined with student grades and teacher feedback.”

derek.russell@journalinc.com Twitter: @wderekrussell

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