DeSoto County Schools

DeSoto County School Central Services building

Results of the initial testing of third graders in Mississippi for reading assessment have been released. While most youngsters were able to score past a higher bar set for them this year to be promoted to fourth grade, there are some who hoped they were able to achieve the needed scores on the second, and possibly even the third try before the new school year starts.

As a district, 77.1 percent of DeSoto County Schools’ (DCS) third graders met what is called the Literary-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) level requirements to move into fourth grade this fall.

The other 22.9 percent of students had a second chance before the school year ended to reach the test level. A summer opportunity would allow those students a third and final chance to score a minimum level on the required reading tests or be held back in third grade for the coming school year.

The results of the second try have not been made available, yet.

Mississippi is one of 16 states that require that students in third grade pass a reading score to be promoted to fourth grade. The minimum bar that youngsters had to be achieved was raised by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) for this school year.

The minimum score on the reading portion of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) English Language Assessment for third graders is at Level 3, according to MDE.

Statewide, 74.5 percent of students met the higher standard. The 25.5 percent of students that did not pass had two more chances, at the end of the school year, and possibly this summer, to reach the Level 3 standard.

Among DCS schools, Pleasant Hill Elementary School had the highest success rate at 90.7 percent, followed closely by Center Hill Elementary School at 90.6 percent.

Horn Lake Intermediate School had the lowest success rate at 58.1 percent. Southaven Elementary School, listed as a Literary Support School, scored at 59.8 percent success.

The other elementary and intermediate schools in the district were Chickasaw Elementary (75.8 percent), DeSoto Central Elementary (85.0), Hernando Hills (89.1), Lake Cormorant Elementary (81.6), Lewisburg Elementary (86.9), Overpark Elementary (84.7), Southaven Intermediate (67.9), and Walls Elementary (63.5).

This week’s results were actually as officials had predicted, since last year, 93.8 percent of third graders last year had reached minimum levels, when students had only to reach Level 2.

“Students need strong reading skills in order to learn other school subjects, such as science, social studies, writing and even mathematics,” said State Education Department Supt. Dr. Carey Wright.

By reaching Level 3, a student is approaching grade-level expectations. Level 4 means a students has mastered grade-level reading standards.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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