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MDE Releases Grade 3-8 Results for Tests Aligned to Higher Standards

December 15, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released today results from the first assessments administered in grades 3 through 8 that measured Mississippi’s students’ progress toward the academic goals laid out in the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards. These standards were designed to ensure students develop the skills and knowledge they need in jobs and in college. 

As anticipated, student performance dropped from previous years’ performance levels in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. For the 2014-2015 school year, assessments from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) replaced the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT2).

Statewide, nearly a third of students in grades 3-8 (30 percent) met or exceeded expectations for English language arts and less than a third of students (26 percent) met or exceeded expectations in mathematics.

“The PARCC assessments were far more demanding than previous state tests. The level of rigor was much closer to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and our test results reflected that. These results mark a new starting point for our students. With continued instruction and support, we expect to see test scores to increase over time,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

According to PARCC, the students scoring at Level 4 or 5, the top two performance categories, are meeting or exceeding 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.  Students scoring at Level 3 are approaching expectations and know a significant amount of content, but may need additional assistance in mastering all aspects of the standards.  Students scoring a Level 1 or 2 need more assistance in learning the content and are in need of greater supports.

Following national trends, about a quarter to a third (23 to 36 percent) of Mississippi students scored at Level 3, which indicates a large number of students are at the cusp of meeting expectations.

“I am proud of all of the students who performed extremely well on this challenging test and am encouraged that so many others demonstrated the potential to move into the highest two performance levels,” Wright said. “I am especially proud of Mississippi teachers, who worked incredibly hard over the past several years to increase the level of rigor in their classrooms and to help their students reach high academic standards.”

The statewide results from PARCC provide parents and educators information on one measure of determining whether students are learning what they need to learn. When combined with student grades and teacher reports, annual assessments provide important information about student progress.

Like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 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.

In past years, there has been a large gap between the percentage of students meeting expectations on Mississippi’s state assessments and the percent achieving proficiency on NAEP tests. NAEP assessments are administered to a random sample of students nationwide in the 4th and 8th grade.

While previous state tests showed 50 to 70 percent of students meeting expectations, NAEP tests showed proficiency levels were actually in the 20 to 25 percent range. The 2014-2015 PARCC results close the gap between the results of state tests and NAEP. 



PARCC Met or Exceeded Expectations

NAEP Proficient


PARCC Met or Exceeded Expectations

NAEP Proficient

Grade 3 Math



Grade 3 ELA



Grade 4 Math



Grade 4 ELA



Grade 5 Math



Grade 5 ELA



Grade 6 Math



Grade 6 ELA



Grade 7 Math



Grade 7 ELA



Grade 8 Math



Grade 8 ELA



Three districts had greater than 45 percent of students scoring Level 4 or higher on math assessments for grades 3-8. Those school districts include Booneville, Madison County and Petal.

Seven districts had greater than 45 percent of students scoring Level 4 or higher on ELA assessments for grades 3-8. Those school districts include Amory, Booneville, Clinton, Madison County, Pass Christian, Petal and Union County.

Dr. Todd English, superintendent of Booneville School District, said his district saw positive results because of the collective effort of the community.

“Everyone worked together to provide the rigor required for our students to be successful. We had tremendous buy in from the students, parents, teachers and administrators,” English said. “The higher standards required higher expectations than normal for all parties involved. We succeeded together.”

Madison County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Ronnie McGehee credited quality teaching and family support for student achievement in Madison.

“We are extremely proud of our students for their outstanding performance on the statewide PARCC assessments. This achievement is a result of teachers and staff who strive daily to create an environment of educational excellence, and to parents who support our efforts,” McGehee said. “Our success in Madison County proves that no matter what the assessment, good teaching wins out!” 

The MDE has offered numerous opportunities for professional development to teachers since the standards were adopted five years ago. Wright said that with continued professional development for teachers, students could move up to meeting expectations over time with the proper support and assistance.

“There is no substitute for great teaching. We are committed to continuing our support to teachers to help them further strengthen instruction,” Wright said.

Dr. John R. Kelly, chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Education, said schools need to continue to challenge students so that they can reach their greatest potential. 

“I am confident in the ability of all students to meet more challenging academic standards,” Kelly said. “Holding our students to higher standards is the only way our state will achieve better educational outcomes.”

In the 2015-2016 school year, Mississippi will be administering the Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP) – which will replace the PARCC test. MAP will continue to provide meaningful feedback to parents, teachers, and students and let them know students’ progress on the path to college and careers.

“MAP is a Mississippi-developed assessment that is aligned to the same standards for college and careers,” said Dr. J.P. Beaudoin, MDE chief of research and development. “MAP assessments are designed to provide meaningful information to students, teachers and parents about student progress and achievement.”

For more information about the 2014-2015 assessments, parents should visit

To view the district- and school-level PARCC results, click here or visit:


  • Districts will distribute individual paper take-home reports for elementary and middle school students.

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist