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MDE Releases Statewide Results for Mississippi Tests Aligned to Higher Standards

August 18, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released today results from the Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP), a statewide assessment created in collaboration with Mississippi teachers. MAP, which assesses student performance in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics in grades 3-8, English II and Algebra I, measures students’ progress toward higher academic goals that equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in jobs and college. 

Overall, students’ test scores in most school districts remained stable or improved from 2014-15 to 2015-16 as they transitioned from previous assessments to MAP assessments. Statewide, the percentage of students scoring in Level 1 – the lowest achievement level - dropped in mathematics and ELA while the students scoring in Level 5 – the advanced level – increased when comparing MAP results to test results from the 2014-15 school year.

Mississippi students took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test in the 2014-15 school year. Mississippi is no longer a member of PARCC, and as a result, the state developed its own assessments for the 2015-16 school year. MAP and PARCC are comparable in rigor and difficulty and measured the same standards.

The MAP results showed the following overall in mathematics:

  • 31.1% of all tested students scored Level 4 or higher.
  • 15 districts had greater than 45% of all students scoring Level 4 or higher
  • Overall 66.2% of students scored at Level 3 or higher.
  • Only 7.2% of all tested students scored Level 1.

In ELA:

  • 32.6% of all tested students scored Level 4 or higher.
  • 14 districts had greater than 45% of all students scoring Level 4 or higher
  • Overall 66% of students scored at Level 3 or higher.
  • Only 11.4% of all tested students scored Level 1.

“Teachers are focusing on instruction that meets the standards, and we’re seeing the results,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I am proud of the hard work happening in classrooms across the state as teachers and administrators work to prepare students with the skills and knowledge they need for successful futures. The results identify where students are doing well and where they need additional support in order to meet grade-level expectations.”

Dr. Phil Burchfield, superintendent of Clinton Public School District, said he’s excited the district is among the top 10 in the state in both ELA and mathematics, and the district plans to continue the work to provide every student the opportunity to excel.

"This year, our students will take the MAP test for the second year in a row. We are using the data from last year's test to tailor instruction and know the targets we're aiming for. We have actionable data from the scores that were released today, and we can use it to work with our students to achieve their best. We make strategic decisions on instruction based on this data. We work with every child to engage and motivate them to do their best. Our teachers do this every day, bell to bell,” he said.

Brian Harvey, superintendent of Oxford School District, which also scored in the top 10 in both ELA and mathematics, said the district’s results are the product of intentional efforts to use data to drive instruction.

“Our teachers and administrators worked very hard to make sure that our standards were taught each and every day. We used data to determine the course of instruction for each child and then measured their growth with our interim assessments. Teachers spend time daily collaborating in professional learning communities improving their instructional practice and planning lessons that challenge our students,” he said.

The results of the MAP assessments are closer to the results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). MAP raises the level of expectations for all students and provides parents a better picture of where their children are on their path to college or career.

Students scoring at Level 4 or 5, the top two performance categories, are meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations. The scores suggest that students have a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are on the right track to being ready for college-level coursework.  Level 4 is at the proficient level and Level 5 is at an advanced level.

Students scoring at Level 3 demonstrate a general mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade or course, and they are approaching expectations for that grade or course.  Students scoring a Level 1 or 2 need more assistance in learning the content and are in need of greater supports.

“We have a lot of students in Level 3, approaching proficiency, in both math and ELA. That tells me that we have room for growth and with additional supports for teachers and students. With additional supports, I believe we will see more students reach proficiency,” Wright said.

While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, annual assessments measure performance of meeting grade-level expectations and can provide important information about student progress and areas for improvement, especially when combined with student grades and teacher feedback. 

Mississippi assessments now require students to reach a higher bar than on former state tests. As with any change in standards and assessments, there is a period of transition as students adjust to higher expectations.

Dr. Bonita Coleman-Potter, superintendent of Ocean Springs School District, which placed in the top 10 districts in both ELA and mathematics, said the students’ results are a direct reflection of both the dedication and commitment from all staff.

“We pride ourselves on providing not only shoulder-to-shoulder support to our teachers, but we give them the autonomy and proper tools to do their jobs effectively. These assessment results validate the work that we have been doing over the past few years,” she said.

Additional information about MAP results can be found here. For more information about the assessment and the resources that are available to help students succeed, parents can visit https://www.mdek12.org/OAE/college-and-career-readiness-standards.

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications
601-359-3706 

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist
601-359-3519