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New cut score for math certification exams in Mississippi

New cut score for math certification exams in Mississippi
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Standardized Test

Mississippi is adjusting the current qualifying test scores for students that want to become middle and high school math teachers. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Kaitlyn Bryant is a senior at Delta State University. She took the Math portion of the Praxis II exam five times and missed the passing score by just a few points.

"So few math teachers in this world, and we're telling our young teachers that sorry you might have all the classes that you need to take but because of this one test now we're not going to let you teach in our state. Considering that, six other states have a lower score of a 160," said Bryant.

The state required students score at least 160. The state Board of Education on Thursday voted to cut the mark to 152.

Bryant says under new regulations, her last score of 154 makes her eligible to complete her degree and someday teach.

Cindy Melton is the Chair of the State Licensure Commission. She says this will likely lessen the current teacher shortage.

"That will place at least 80 percent of our student taking that test in a position to pass. Right now, that's preventing some really wonderful folks who have passed all the other hoops that is preventing them from getting into a classroom," said Melton.

Roy Gill is the superintendent of the Harrison County School District. He says even with the reduced passing score, students will still be in good hands.

"When you look at the cut score of a 152 and you look at the content of the assessment, our high school kids will be well prepared to be successful in whether it's college or engineering or whatever they choose," said Gill.

The change takes effect immediately. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.