Mississippi schools will not get A-F grades, requirements for third grade reading tests, high school tests changed

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, January 21, 2021

Mississippi’s public schools will not be assigned new A-F letter grades for their performances during the 2020-21 school year.

The Mississippi State Board of Education voted Thursday to suspend three statewide policies in order to help manage the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the current school year.

Each school year, the MDE assesses schools and later assigns letter grades to reflect the performances of those schools.

Thursday’s suspension means all required state and federal assessments will still be administered this school year as usual, but the MDE will not hand out new letter grades.

Due to the virus’ impact on the current school year, the MDE will not have enough data to calculate grades based on state and federal requirements.

Schools will keep their most recent letter grades earned in the 2018-19 school year.

Thursday’s vote also affects 3rd-grade students and high school students in Mississippi.

Each year 3rd-grade students take the 3rd Grade Reading/Language Arts assessment test.

This year, however, students will not be required to meet a passing score on the test to be promoted to 4th grade for the 2021-22 school year. Students must still meet all other district requirements for promotion.

Similarly, high school students take assessment tests in Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History classes.

2020-21 high school students will not be required to meet a passing score to meet high school graduation requirements. They must meet all other state and district requirements to graduate, though.

The MDE will calculate and report the results from all statewide assessments from the 2020-21 school year and will submit information and a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education to meet federal requirements for assessment and accountability.

“This year’s statewide assessments will provide valuable information about the impact of COVID-19 on learning and will help identify where accelerated learning opportunities for students are most needed,” Dr. Carey Wright, the state’s superintendent of education said. “The policy suspensions are intended to support schools through this intensely challenging year for educators and students.”