Early learners in Mississippi are showing improving in academic readiness. MPB's Alexis Ware reports, the kindergarten test scores are on the rise.
Mississippi kindergarten students are learning the skills needed for the statewide STAR Early Literacy Exam. Nearly 37 thousand kindergartners took the assessment during the 2016-2017 school year. 65 percent of those student scored above the target score of 681. Two years ago that number was 54 percent.
Jill Dent is with the Mississippi Department of Education. She explains the skill a proficient student would have.
“The student has mastered alphabet skills letter sounds relationships can identify many beginning and ending constant sounds and long and short vowel sounds and they are able probably to blend sounds and word parts so by this time they can read simple words.”
The Department says every district in the state showed progress, though achievement varied across the state. The average scores for the Clarksdale Municipal School Districts were slightly below the proficient benchmark. However, two schools in the district did meet the target score.
Assistant Superintendent Toya Harrell-Matthews says test scores increased from previous years throughout the district.
“We had less than maybe 20 students that did not pass that exam whereas before we were having well over that. And, we attribute that to the collaboratives we’re a part of with Pre-K but also having those transitions with the pre-k students coming into kindergarten being able to take on those skills they see once they get into kindergarten.”
Both Dent and Harrell-Matthews say achieving proficient scores is the foundation for future academic success.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The recorded version of this story references Harrell-Matthews as Superintendent rather than Assistant Superintendent.