Fairview Elementary third graders all passed the state reading assessment this year, the first time any third-grade class at Columbus Municipal School District earned a 100-percent pass rate.
All third-grade students in Mississippi must pass the reading assessment — which is part of the broader year-end English-Language Arts exam for third grade — before entering the fourth grade. The CMSD initial state assessment results were announced at the school board’s regular meeting Monday morning.
The Mississippi Department of Education implemented the reading assessment for the 2014-15 school year to help ensure student literacy. The Legislature then passed the “Literacy-Based Promotion Act” mandating that all third-grade students must pass the state proficiency in reading in order to advance to the fourth grade.
Fairview Elementary increased their passing rate by 6.25 percent since last year’s results, moving from 93.75 percent passing to a perfect pass rate.
“(I am) very excited and proud of our students, teachers and parents for their efforts,” Interim Superintendent Craig Shannon said. “For the first time in history, one of our schools has scored 100 percent on passing rate. This just shows that with hard work, anything is possible.”
Overall at CMSD, 41 third graders did not reach the minimum proficiency required on the exam to proceed to the fourth grade — which gave CMSD an 87.83 pass rate.
Students who did not pass will have two more opportunities to retake the test before the 2018-19 school year begins.
Their second chance at the assessment comes this week. Those who fail a second time will take a focus class over the summer emphasizing reading and literacy. After the class, students will have their final chance to pass that assessment in June or be retained in third grade.
Sale Elementary showed the largest improvement in the district from last year, moving from 82.35 percent passing rate to 90.63 percent in 2018. Cook Elementary increased to an 84 percent passing rate. Franklin Academy increased to 83.87 percent.
Stokes-Beard Elementary, which had the second highest passing rate in the district last year, was the only school in the district to drop this year — from 91.83 percent to 86.76 percent.
Some students who did not score proficient on the exam may qualify for a “good-cause exemption” — depending on special-education needs or if English is their second language. Those students will not have to retake the assessment.
Lowndes County School district saw an increase from last year’s reading assessment results, improving to a 95 percent pass rate overall.
LCSD had 19 third graders who did not meet the minimum proficiency to progress to the fourth grade. Robin Ballard, deputy superintendent, said LCSD is currently tutoring students who did not pass to prepare for the second assessment.
Caledonia and West Lowndes elementary schools scored the highest for LCSD, each with a 97 percent pass rate. West Lowndes Elementary had the largest increase from last year in the district with a 14 percent jump.
New Hope Elementary dropped 2 percent from last year with a 92 percent pass rate for 2018.
“We were very proud of the scores and what our teachers and administrators are doing and the progress that our students are making,” Superintendent Lynn Wright said. “We are very appreciative of the effort our students are putting forth.”
At Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District, a combined 35 students from two elementary schools scored lower than minimum proficiency on the reading assessment.
By percentage, West Elementary led the way with 95.6 of its third graders passing the exam on the first try. At Henderson Ward Stewart, 90.6 percent passed.
Overall, the district’s pass rate was 90.8 percent, down slightly from 91.5 percent in 2017. Last year, however, 37 (out of 401) students did not pass the assessment on the first try. In 2018, only 351 students were tested.
“We are very proud of our students and teachers,” SOCSD Deputy Superintendent Christy Maulding said. “They have worked hard this year and their performance indicates this success.”