Eight percent of Mississippi's third graders will not advance to the next grade because of low test scores on a state mandated reading assessment.
Sam Bounds is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Association of Superintendents. He says although it's unfortunate, eight percent is a better turnout than the anticipated 28 percent of failures from the previous year.
"I really feel sorry that we have 8 percent of our students based off one assessment, but we're very pleased with the hard work our teachers, and our principals are doing to emphasize reading," says Bounds.
Out of about 38,000 students, nearly 5,800 failed the test on the first try back in April. After the second and third tries, that number dropped to 2,907. That is an improvement that Governor Phil Bryant is proud to see.
"What we're trying our best to do is put the necessary resources out there, like 39.5 million dollars for reading coaches, and I think you see the impact of that. The good, hard-working teachers that have answered the call, are in those classrooms helping these children learn how to read," Bryant says.
Governor Bryant, a former third grader once held back, says he can relate to the failing 8 percent.
"I think the worse thing we could do is allow them to be socially promoted to the 4th grade when they can't read at that level," says Bryant.
Local school districts will determine which of the students that failed, can qualify for a “good cause exemption", including students who use English as their second language.