Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NAEP: Mississippi fourth-grade reading scores improve, "buck" national trend.

The Mississippi Department of Education issued the following press release:

Kingfish note: These paragraphs says it all:

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi showed a significant increase in 4th grade math and reading on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), bucking the national trend of flat or declining performance.

Compared to 2013 scores, Mississippi was the only state that had a significant increase in 4th grade math, was one of 13 states that had a significant increase in 4th grade reading, and is the only state in that nation that saw significant increases in both subjects for 4th grade. Overall, 4th grade math proficiency rates rose from 26 to 30 percent, and reading proficiency increased from 21 to 26 percent. Mississippi is No. 1 for gains in the average scale score for 4th grade math.
Third-grade reading gate started last year.   That had no effect on the fourth-grade improvement this year.  None at all.

In case anyone missed the sarcasm, here is the Governor's press release:


Mississippi Students Defy National Trends and Show Significant Improvements in Reading and Math
JACKSON—Mississippi fourth graders demonstrated significant improvement in reading and math achievements on “The Nation’s Report Card” (NAEP) assessment given to fourth and eighth grade students around the United States. Results for 2015 were released Wednesday. Mississippi was the only state in the nation to show an increase in achievement in both subject areas.

Mississippi fourth graders earned a six-point increase in reading scores and a three-point increase in math scores from 2013 to 2015. Mississippi’s fourth grade reading increase is the most substantial increase the state has ever demonstrated on the NAEP test.

“This is an outstanding achievement for Mississippi.  The credit truly goes to the students and to the hardworking teachers and caring families who support them,” Gov. Phil Bryant said.

Nationally, 2015 fourth grade reading scores were flat, and fourth grade math scores decreased over the same time period. Math and reading scores for Mississippi eighth graders remained steady from 2013 to 2015. Nationally, scores for that age group trended downward in both subjects.

Researchers agree that when a state demonstrates achievement levels that are significantly different than national trends, as Mississippi fourth graders have demonstrated in reading and math, the reason is likely a policy or action taken by the state.

In 2013, Mississippi adopted Gov. Phil Bryant’s “Third Grade Gate” literacy based promotion policy. The policy inspired an intense, statewide focus on literacy and provides additional resources for both teachers and students.

The fourth grade students who took the NAEP assessment earlier this spring and achieved Mississippi’s six-point gain were in third grade when the Third Grade Gate took effect. These students therefore received the benefit of reading coaches and teachers who had been retrained in best practices for reading instruction. The students were also provided with additional reading instruction if they demonstrated a literacy deficiency during their third grade school year.

“Teachers, administrators and students all understand that learning to read by third grade is critically important,” Gov. Bryant said. “The state has placed a special emphasis on literacy to ensure that children across the state have the opportunity to succeed. The NAEP results show the positive effect of that work and make a strong case for state-led reform efforts like those included in the ‘Education Works’ agenda.”

The Education Commission of the States, a national policy organization that tracks state policies and trends in education, agrees that Mississippi’s state-led policies are generating a positive effect on student achievement.

"Mississippi has implemented focused education policies in the past couple of years aimed to help students achieve higher reading and math scores.  These policies have provided students the support services and monitoring necessary to see such a significant increase in fourth grade reading scores statewide," said Jeremy Anderson, President of the Education Commission of the States.

Mississippi’s Third Grade Gate policy was inspired by a similar policy in Florida spearheaded by the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Following implementation of the literacy policy in that state, Florida fourth graders, like Mississippi students, demonstrated substantial increases in reading achievement.

“Today’s results are another indicator that the reforms of the last four years are having a positive impact for Mississippi students,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO for the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd).  “This would not have been possible without the incredible efforts of Mississippi’s teachers, principals, parents and community leaders, who took ownership of these proven policies to ensure that young Mississippians are best prepared to succeed in school and life. Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, Speaker Philip Gunn, the Legislature and the Department of Education have revolutionized education policy in the Magnolia State. They prioritized the academic achievement of children and the results speak for themselves.”

The Third Grade Gate was adopted in 2013 as part of Gov. Bryant’s “Education Works” agenda. “Education Works” is a package of state-driven public education reforms that includes policies regarding public charter schools, merit pay for teachers, support for effective early childhood learning programs and scholarships to support high-achieving students who want to become teachers.


Anonymous said...

Neither did CC even though these are the first students to be taught under the new curriculum. Granted, not all districts started with the first wave, but the most progressive and better ranked districts did.

Anonymous said...

When you start at the bottom, gains are easy. Harder to stay at the top. That being said, we are starting to do much better in the assessments as Mississippi still funds education, and some states like North Carolina and Alabama are making massive spending cuts in education.

Anonymous said...

This can't be! I42 hasn't yet passed. Scores can't improve until more money is given to the schools. Everyone knows those mean ole republicans have taken books away from classrooms and fired all the good teachers. The Pro 42 ads say so, so it must be true!

Anonymous said...

11:19 I pick up on your sarcasm.

As a young republican and conservative myself though, I keep asking myself why my party fought so hard to not fund Kindergarten in the 80s. We have to answer for that and many other decisions in our history if we are to buck the legitimate distrust when our Party is in control of Education.

Anonymous said...

12:21, maybe "your party" should grow a backbone and stand up to the sacred cow of "public education." Why do we depend on the government to teach our children?

Anonymous said...

12:21, more funding for public education in Mississippi has nothing to do with reading skills. Not is this State.

Anonymous said...

Stop common core!!! Stop 42!!! Stop Obamacare!!! Let's make America great again!!!

Anonymous said...

To the Young Republican: Whatever happened in the 80's or 70's, for that matter, must be overcome now. At that time there were many of the die-hard Democrats who switched to the Republican party and dominated it. Now, we are a whole new generation with new thought and answering for past behavior is not looking forward. Accept that things were in huge turmoil following integration and are just now beginning to show how true caring for the individual, including students, is more important than massive group-think. Moves by the Democrats, in my opinion, are usually vote-buying in the form of entitlements instead of steady promotion of better quality of life issues, including education for all who will stay in school. I am proud of any indications that true education is working well and this forth grade result is certainly that.

Anonymous said...

In the 70s and 80s and 90s the Mississippi Legislature was controlled lock, stock and barrel by Democrats. ANYBODY, including the supposed self-avowed "young Republican and Conservative", who contends that Republicans before the turn of the century had any legislative influence at all in Mississippi on matters of education, let alone specific sins such as opposition to Kindergarten funding, is a complete bonafide JJ TROLL FRAUD.

Anonymous said...

12:21 here

Not a troll fraud. Though I have been shown to be clearly ignorant about the politics of the time.

Are you guys telling me that our party was not the one blocking the funding for Kindergarten? I had always worked under and been upset by that assumption.

I am honestly genuinely interested in reading more about the history of it all. Any good book suggests to start?

Anonymous said...

Wow, incredible. Back in May we were told that only 85% of our 3rd graders were reading at grade level and many schools were in the 50%-70% pass rate:

Now we are told our 4th graders are "bucking the national trend".

One year apart and they make miraculous progress? Bull.

Anonymous said...

12:21: You should check out Nash and Taggart's "Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power"

Anonymous said...

@3:31 - Believe you have the wrong figures at 85%. When the final tally came down, there were approximately 5,000 STATEWIDE who had to be held back. We really do have some poor schools and some poor teachers and we are trying to address same. None of this takes away from gains in the 4th grade scores.

Anonymous said...

Students scoring at or above 926 which is the passing score for 3rd grade Reading Assessment - 32,219 Students (85.17%)

6:57 you should always check the link someone cites. Usually better than your memory. The number that did not pass (scoring below 926) is 5,612 or 14.83%


Anonymous said...

I gave you the link. 85.17% pass. Suggest you read the report. It is a sad recitation of a completely failed system. The 5000 you cite is the number that failed, actually 5,612 or 14.83%.

Anonymous said...

Coming to Mississippi Schools soon and look at the spending per student. We have people seriously arguing we need to spend more money per student with 42:

In the Detroit public school district, 96 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in mathematics and 93 percent are not proficient in reading.

That is according to the results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests published by the Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics.

According to data published by the Detroit Public Schools, the school district’s operating expenses in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014 amounted to approximately $14,743 per student.

Nationwide, only 33 percent of public-school eighth graders scored proficient or better in reading in 2015 and only 32 percent scored proficient or better in mathematics.

Anonymous said...

Young Republican, you are not mistaken.

The truth is that the Democrats who blocked kindergarten ( those still alive) are now Republicans.

The good ole boys of MS just changed parties, that's all.

Once Gil Carmicheal nearly beat Fitch, the ole boys saw they could be Republicans instead of Dixiecrats.

bill said...

10:04, that's certainly the case with some, but plenty of notable white rural Democrats stayed with their party, and many continue in the legislature as liberal Democrats today. It's a myth that the good ol' boys from the past have all become Republicans.

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