Public school 3rd graders, seniors will take federal, state tests this school year

Published 1:50 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2021

All required federal and statewide assessments will be administered to public-school students this school year, according to the Mississippi Department of Education, though scores will not keep third graders from advancing or seniors from graduating.

“I think it was the right move for MDE to make,” said Lincoln County School District Superintendent David Martin. “It takes a lot of pressure off the teachers and the students, but we’re still going to approach it as if it were necessary for advancement. It’s very important to take it seriously because they still need to know this information in order to advance.”

“I believe that MDE made the right decision in holding all districts harmless with state testing this year,” Brookhaven School District Superintendent Rod Henderson said. “With all districts dealing with the many issues that the pandemic has caused, it was truly the right decision. We met as an administrative team a few months ago and discussed our path with testing this year, including the third grade reading assessment, end of the course exams and all other tested areas and decided that we will approach testing in as normal of a capacity as we always have. We want to set a standard of excellence within the district regarding all assessments, and I believe that we must take that approach this year and the ones to follow.”

MDE has provided districts with pandemic-related flexibilities to make it easier to administer the assessments and to schedule in-person testing for virtual learners.

Schools are expected to provide safe testing accommodations to full-time virtual learners who are able go to their school campus to test. Virtual learners are strongly urged to be tested, though schools cannot require students to show up for testing.

“The assessments identify students’ strengths and areas for improvement to ensure they are on track for the next grade and eventually, college and career,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “This year’s statewide assessments will provide valuable information about the impact of COVID-19 on learning and will help identify where accelerated learning opportunities for students are most needed.”

Current third graders are not required to meet a passing score on the Third Grade Reading Assessment to be promoted to fourth grade for the 2021-22 school year. Students still must meet all other district requirements for promotion.

This school year, high school students who take required end-of-course high school assessments including Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History are not required to meet a passing score to meet high school graduation requirements. Students must meet all other state and district requirements to graduate.