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Majority of Miss. Kindergartners Not Ready To Learn
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Nearly two-thirds of Mississippi five-year-olds are not prepared for kindergarten according to the State Department of Education.

For the first time, education officials are testing whether Mississippi's 40-thousand kindergartners are prepared to learn.

The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment measures whether students understand the building blocks of literacy. Kim Benton is with the State Department of Education. Out of the 900 points possible on the test, Benton says the state set a benchmark score of 530.

"530 means they can do things like recognize their name, recognize some numbers, distinguish between an uppercase letter and a lowercase letter." says Benton.

According to the assessment's results, only 34-percent of Mississippi kindergartners met that benchmark. Superintendent of Education Carey Wright says the results were not surprising.

But it was also compelling to me because it lets me know also that we are definitely heading in the right direction as far as early childhood is concerned."

Education officials says they are still sorting through the data, but the early results show that there is a need for more pre-k education.