What Can Maryland Schools Learn From Mississippi’s Successes?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics 2019 data from the Nation’s Report Card, officially known as the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), Mississippi was the only state in the country to improve fourth grade reading scores. Mississippi was also the number one state in the country for gains in fourth-grade reading and math.

From Mississippi Today:

The Mississippi Department of Education attributed the some of the continued success in reading scores to the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, a law that went into effect in 2013 that requires third-graders to pass a reading test before they can be promoted to the fourth grade. This year marks the first where students had to hit a higher bar to move up a grade.

Passed during the 2013 legislative session in Mississippi, the Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) places an emphasis on grade-level reading skills, particularly as students’ progress through grades K-3. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, a student scoring at the lowest achievement level in reading on the established state-wide assessment for 3rd grade will not be promoted to 4th grade unless the student qualifies for a good cause exemption. These exemptions are often used for students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities, and students receiving intensive remediation. Students have three chances during the course of 3rd grade to pass their state-wide assessment. The LBPA was amended in 2016 and includes changes such as an Individual Reading Plan (IRP) and increased expectations for 3rd grade students beginning in 2018-2019.

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