Extraordinary Teachers, Backed by Pandemic Funding, Push Student Learning to New Highs

Following two years of unprecedented pandemic-related disruptions and nationwide learning losses for students, Mississippi’s public school teachers rolled up their sleeves and went to work to ensure that our children’s futures would not suffer. School districts took advantage of COVID-19 relief funds to offer extended learning days, tutorial services, summer reading camps, and other intensive interventions. It worked. State test scores for 2021-2022 are in, and the story they tell is impressive. 

Mississippi students and teachers have made incredible progress in the last year, with dramatic improvements in every subject and at every proficiency level compared to last year’s scores. Students scoring in the top two levels not only made up the learning lost during the pandemic, they surpassed pre-pandemic proficiency rates.

The percent of students scoring proficient or advanced is 42.2% in English Language Arts (ELA) and 55.9% in science, both record highs. In mathematics, the proficient/advanced scores made up 47.3%, barely short of the 47.4% pre-pandemic rate.

Some of our most extraordinary teachers are working with vulnerable students who continue to struggle to overcome the challenges disproportionately inflicted on under-resourced communities by the pandemic. School districts are hyper-focused on providing these students additional resources and academic interventions to ensure that they don’t get left behind. As pandemic funding runs out, it will be imperative for the Mississippi Legislature to provide school districts the funding state law promises to keep our schools strong, help communities flourish, and allow students to fulfill their dreams.

See the percent of students by school and school district who scored at each proficiency level in 2021-2022 (Level 5 is Advanced, Level 1 is Minimal):

Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. Kim Benton congratulated our students and educators, saying, “The 2021-2022 assessment results provide clear and indisputable evidence of the resilience of our students and educators and their ability to recover from the disruptions to learning.” State Board of Education Chair Rosemary Aultman expressed her appreciation for the “tremendous job” being done in public schools, adding on behalf of the board, “…I hope that superintendents, principals, and teachers…will take full knowledge of how proud we are of the work they are doing.”

Assessment results figure heavily in the assignment of school district accountability ratings, which will be announced later in the fall.

Public schools are the only schools that are open to all children, and our wonderful public school teachers are doing terrific work to ensure that every child has the skills and support needed to have a shot at a bright future. What a blessing they are to our children and our communities!

Please join us in thanking our teachers for their dedication and selfless service. Their work is hard, and they have earned our support. Together, we’ve got this!

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