The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released today statewide results from the 2018-19 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP), which shows student achievement has reached an all-time high in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics.

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.

When MAAP was first administered in 2015-16, one-third of students met or exceeded grade-level expectations in ELA and mathematics. In 2018-19, closer to half of the students met or exceeded expectations in each subject. ELA achievement has increased from 33.6% to 41.6% of students scoring proficient or advanced. Students scoring proficient or advanced in mathematics has jumped from 33.0% to 47.3%. 

Mississippi’s plan for improving student achievement calls for at least 70% of all students to be proficient in ELA and mathematics by 2025. 

“Mississippi students are outpacing the nation in learning gains thanks to their hard work and the hard work of teachers, school staff, school leaders, and parents,” Wright said. “Education in Mississippi is part of our state’s success story.”

Wright said professional development and teachers holding students to rigorous standards can be thanked for the increase in scores. 

MAAP tests have five levels. Students scoring at Levels 4 and 5 are considered proficient or advanced in the subject. 

Since MAAP was first administered in 2016, the number of districts with greater than 45% of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA has more than tripled, and mathematics has quadrupled:

  • 48 districts had greater than 45% of all students scoring Level 4 or 5 in ELA, compared to 40 in 2018, 22 in 2017 and 14 in 2016 
  • 62 districts had greater than 45% of all students scoring Level 4 or 5 in mathematics, compared to 52 in 2018, 32 in 2017 and 15 in 2016

Mississippi students made gains in all tested subjects and grades since 2016. One-Year comparison of results, from 2017-18 to 2018-19, showed students made significant gains in 12 out of 14 subjects and grades.


Comparison of Grade-level MAAP Results from 2017-18 to 2018-19

Mathematics English Language Arts (ELA)
Grade 2017-18

Proficient or Advanced


Proficient or Advanced

Change 2017-18

Proficient or Advanced


Proficient or Advanced

Grade 3 46.0% 51.4% +5.4% 44.7% 48.3% +3.6%
Grade 4 44.4% 48.8% +4.4% 45.1% 48.5% +3.4%
Grade 5 33.8% 38.9% +5.1% 36.2% 43.1% +6.9%
Grade 6 46.4% 47.6% +1.2% 38.0% 33.6% -4.4%
Grade 7 49.2% 51.1% +1.9% 34.7% 39.0% +4.3%
Grade 8 41.2% 44.8% +3.6% 35.1% 35.5% +0.4%
English II   44.5% 43.8% -0.7%
Algebra I 46.6% 49.3% +2.7%
Overall 43.9% 47.4% +3.5% 39.8% 41.7% +1.9%


Students scoring at Level 4 or 5, the proficient or advanced categories, have a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are on the right track to being ready for college-level coursework.  

Students scoring at Level 3 demonstrate a general mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade or course, and they are approaching expectations for that grade or course.  Students scoring a Level 1 or 2 need more assistance in learning the content and are in need of greater supports.

“Statewide assessments ensure that children in every school are achieving the learning goals for each grade level,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “When students score proficient or advanced, parents can be assured their child’s school is providing a quality education that has prepared students to be successful in the next grade.”

English II has decreased two years in a row. Wright said it’s because those students have not been through the recently implemented reform work and that she’s not concerned with a less than one percent dip. 

Wright also stated that math scores tend to be higher because there’s not as much reading involved, but by having students explain their work in writing, it’s not farfetched to expect math could help reading. Also, learning math seems to be a simpler task than reading. 

“They learn to read, then read to learn come fourth grade,” said Wright. 

The 3rd-grade reading gate is the reading portion of the MAAP test without the writing element. 

Seven school districts ranked in the top 10 statewide for student proficiency in both ELA and mathematics: Booneville, Clinton, Enterprise, Ocean Springs, Oxford, Petal and Union County. Eight districts ranked in the bottom 10 statewide for student proficiency in both ELA and mathematics: Amite County, Holmes County, Humphreys County, Jefferson County, Noxubee County, West Bolivar Consolidated, Wilkinson County, and Yazoo City. Humphreys County and Yazoo City school districts became part of Mississippi’s first Achievement School District in 2019-20.

While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, annual assessments can provide important information about student progress and areas for improvement, especially when combined with student grades and teacher feedback. 

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