TUPELO • More than a quarter of third-graders did not meet new state testing requirements this year to be promoted into the fourth grade, but a total of 82.8% Mississippi third–graders have now passed, as results from the first of two summer retest opportunities show.
Students transition from learning to read to reading to learn in third grade and without sufficient reading skills, students may have difficulty understanding grade-level reading materials later and could fall behind.
In May, results from the most recent third grade reading assessment were released by the Mississippi Department of Education and showed 74.5% of students passed this spring while 25.5% of students did not score at level three or higher and would therefore need to retest.
Of the 8,941 students who did not pass the initial test, 7,445 were retested and 2,911 have passed the retest.
An amendment was added three years after the Literacy-Based Promotion Act was signed into law in 2013 requiring third-graders to score at level three or higher on the reading portion of the English Language Arts part of the test, which is part of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program.
Mississippi law once called for third-graders to score above the lowest achievement level. The most recent first-time passing rates under those lower expectations was 93.2% in 2018.
When this new testing requirement was implemented in the 2018-19 school year, Mississippi third-graders could no longer pass the state test by meeting the lowest achievement level.
Meeting level three indicates a student is approaching grade-level expectations, while level four means a student has mastered grade-level reading standards.
Districts will schedule the final retest before the school year begins again in the fall, between June 24 and July 12.
The final school and district passing results for the third grade reading assessment as well as promotion and retention information will be released in the fall after school districts tally the final number of student exemptions.