by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

Despite the statewide assessments decreasing from the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) results for the first time since 2016, the Pass Christian School District (PCSD) finished inside the top 10 in three out of four categories.

MAAP measures students’ progress toward academic goals that equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and the workforce. Mississippi teachers helped develop MAAP tests, which align with the learning goals for Mississippi classrooms. MAAP measures student performance in ELA and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in high school English II and Algebra I.

“The disruption and stress caused by COVID-19 has had an impact on student performance in every state in the country and the impact has been more marked in mathematics than in English Language Arts,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I am proud of the way Mississippi students, families, teachers and school leaders persevered through the most challenging school year of their lives.”

Students had their school year cut short in spring 2020 when the pandemic shut down school buildings in Mississippi and the United States. Though most Mississippi students had access to in-person learning most of the 2020-21 school year, hybrid learning, quarantining and numerous weather-related school building closures created obstacles to teaching and learning.

At the beginning of the 2020 – 2021 school year, the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) issued guidance requiring the administration of all federal and statewide assessments to all eligible students. In addition, the MDE provided districts with pandemic-related flexibilities to administer statewide assessments during the 2020 – 2021 school year, since remote testing was not available.

In the English Language Arts (ELA) category at the statewide assessment, Pass Christian School District finished sixth in the state with 51.3% of students proficient and advanced in the subject.

The top category for PCSD was science as they ended up second in the state with 75.3% of the students completing the assessment proficient and advanced.

Finally in the U.S. History subject, PCSD came in seventh as 71.3% were proficient and advanced.  Of a note, in 2020 – 2021, U.S. History has five (5) performance levels.

Although they did not place in Mathematics overall, the school district finished fifth in Algebra I with a final score of 62.4%.

The MDE provided districts pandemic-related flexibilities to administer the assessments. Schools provided safe testing environments to all students including full-time virtual learners who took assessments at schools. The overall participation rate for assessments was 96.9%, close to the 98%-99% rates of previous years.

Due to COVID disruptions, grade 3 students were not required to meet a passing score on the reading assessment to be promoted to grade 4. Students still had to meet all other district requirements for promotion. Students who took required end-of-course high school assessments including Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History were not required to meet a passing score.

(Contributed to by the Mississippi Department of Education on the results)