The Mississippi Department of Education on July 21 released the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Update for the 2021-22 school year on July 21.
The update showed the majority of pre-K and kindergarten students made gains over the course of the school year but fell short of pre-pandemic achievement levels.
Pre-K and kindergarteners take a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment in the fall and spring of each school year. In fall 2021, 31.8% of students scored kindergarten ready. When kindergarteners were retested in the spring 2022, 57.7% of students met the end-of-year target score. Though most students showed progress, the overall percentage of students meeting the target score decreased from 65.6% in spring 2019, when kindergarteners were last tested.
Students receive a score on a scale of 300 too 900, and 681 is considered the benchmark.
In the Webster County School District an overall average of 65.7% of kindergarten students scored equal to or above 681. Districtwide, the average score in spring 2022 was 716 (Transitional Reader performance level), representing a scaled score gain of 252 from fall 2021.
At the individual elementary schools here the percentage hitting the benchmark were 68.2% at Eupora with an average score of 715 and 63.7% at East Webster with an average score of 718.
“Despite the learning disruptions caused by COVID-19, Mississippi kindergarteners still showed significant growth during the 2021-22 school year thanks to the hard work and dedication of their teachers to accelerate learning,” said Dr. Kim Benton, interim state superintendent of education. “Teachers will be able to use these results to inform instruction in the early grades. Schools may also implement tutorial services and extended learning services this fall.”
Students with a score of 498 at the end of pre-kindergarten have mastered 70% of early literacy skills. These students are on track to earn a 530 at the beginning of kindergarten and to meet end of grade 3 reading expectations
In the Webster County School District, 51.79% of pre-K students met the end-of-year target score in spring 2022 with an average score of 517 (Late Emergent Reader performance level), representing a scaled score gain of 116 from fall 2021.
At the individual elementary schools the percentage hitting the benchmark were 55.1% at Eupora with an average score of 537 and 48.1% at East Webster with an average score of 496.
The MDE has outlined specific guidance for school districts on ways to improve outcomes. At the agency level, the MDE will implement various strategies such as Science of Reading and Regional Literacy Trainings statewide for paraprofessionals and K-5 teachers, offer intervention coaching to kindergarten and first-grade teachers, and provide professional development on Kindergarten Readiness reports to inform targeted small group instruction.
The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment provides parents, teachers, and early childhood providers with a common understanding of what children know and are able to do upon entering school. Teachers use the results as an instructional baseline to tailor classroom instruction and other services for pre-K and kindergarten students. The assessment also measures how well pre-K programs prepare 4-year-old children to be ready for kindergarten.