The Mississippi Department of Education has released the results of the statewide assessments administered to students in the spring of 2021. This was the first round of state testing since the pandemic struck nearly two years ago causing unprecedented and repeated disruptions in learning. As expected, the tests showed that students did not make the academic gains expected in a typical year. Teachers are hard at work this fall getting students back on track for success, even as they continue to face pandemic-related challenges. In fact, teachers already are using these assessment results to further identify areas of weakness, better target remediation, and refine instruction.
The statewide assessments revealed that proficiency rates have dropped in both English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The ELA proficiency rate statewide dipped to 34.9%, a loss of 6.7 percentage points from 2019 to 2021, while the mathematics proficiency rate dropped 12.3 points to a statewide rate of 35.1%. States nationwide are expected to see losses that are similar or worse.
See the percent of students by school and school district who scored at each proficiency level (Level 5 is Advanced, Level 1 is Minimal):
School buildings closed early in the spring of 2020 as COVID-19 began to rage, and teachers, administrators, students, and families have struggled since to navigate the turmoil caused by the virus. The pandemic shined a bright spotlight on the critical role of teachers, the importance of in-person learning, and the shortcomings of online instruction. While virtual learning can provide an important bridge in times when in-person learning isn’t safe or possible, students on the whole achieve at much higher levels and fare better socially and emotionally when they go to school together and are provided face-to-face instruction.
State superintendent Dr. Carey Wright expressed deep appreciation for our amazing Mississippi teachers and students, saying, “I am proud of the way Mississippi students, families, teachers, and school leaders persevered through the most challenging school year of their lives.” She added, “This year establishes a new baseline for statewide assessments. As the world moves to recover from the pandemic, I am confident Mississippi students will progress just as rapidly as they did before.”
Teachers, students, and parents continue to need our support as they work to overcome the many obstacles they’ve encountered over three school years affected by COVID-19. We at The Parents’ Campaign are exceedingly proud of our teachers and students, and we look forward to watching them excel over the coming weeks and months. Together, we’ve got this!