Nearly 6,000 students could repeat 3rd grade

Nearly 5,800 third graders failed Mississippi’s first high-stakes reading assessment tied to a new state law requiring they be held back another year.

The Mississippi Department of Education on Thursday released the much-anticipated results of the assessment, which all third graders took in April, but it provided only state-level data. Individual and school-level results will be released Friday.

Students must have scored a 926 or above to demonstrate they can read at or above grade level and, thus, advance to the fourth grade. Fifteen percent of the roughly 38,000 third graders who took the test scored below that mark.

“Quite frankly, I’m surprised the fail rate is not higher,” said board member Rosemary Aultman, claiming some Mississippi students “can’t tell a square from a turtle.”