Miss. Kindergartners Score Poorly on Early Literacy Test
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Five-year-old's in Mississippi are still showing up to school not prepared for kindergarten. That's according to the results of the state's 2nd administration of the kindergarten readiness assessment.

The kindergarten readiness assessment measures whether students understand the building blocks of literacy. When the test was administered to the state’s 37,000 kindergartners this fall, nearly two-thirds of them scored below the state’s benchmark of 530. Test scores range between 300 and 900 points.

The scores are also nearly the exact same results students in Mississippi achieved last year. Johnny Franklin is a member of the Mississippi Board of Education. He's disappointed that the scores didn't show any change over the past year. 

"You're talking about 40,000 kids in kindergarten," says Franklin. "Which means those 40,000 are scattered from one end of the state to the other in various and sundry programs including homes, headstart programs, licensed daycare centers and in unlicensed daycare centers. That's where they're getting their service now. It just takes time to scale up and as many people that are involved. It just takes time to do that."

Kim Benton is with the Mississippi Department of Education. She says the results prove there is a need to expand pre-k services throughout the state.

"We have children coming in from multiple different areas," Benton says. "Some have been in structured programs. Some have never had the opportunity for language development. Really, to me, it presents another reason, another compelling reason for why we need to expand early-childhood, so that we level the playing field for all the boys and girls in the state of Mississippi. They don't deserve anything less."

Students will retake the assessment at the end of the school year. Last year, students were able to raise their scores roughly 150 to 200 points.