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Mississippi 1 of 2 states with improved...

Mississippi 1 of 2 states with improved 4th grade math scores over a decade; 1 of 3 with gains in 4th grade reading

By: Anne Summerhays - October 24, 2022

Mississippi is the only state that improved over a 10-year period in two of the four core NAEP subjects.

On Monday, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced the state had maintained its historic gains in 4th grade reading on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), while scores nationally dropped in all four NAEP subjects and grades.

The 2022 NAEP results provide the first national measure of student learning since the start of the pandemic. 

The 2022 results show Mississippi 4th graders scored at the national average in both reading and math. 

“Mississippi’s economically disadvantaged 4th graders achieved higher scores in reading and math than their peers nationally and in the South,” MDE said in a release. “This achievement holds steady among black, white and Hispanic students living in poverty.”

Dr. Kim Benton, Interim State Superintendent of Education, said the 2022 NAEP scores prove the resilience of Mississippi students and the ability of Mississippi educators to provide high-quality instruction despite the challenges of the pandemic. 

“While our state’s scores are encouraging, they also underscore the need to press forward to ensure all students achieve proficiency,” Benton said. “In particular, we have more work to do in 8th grade reading and math to bring student performance up to the national average and then continue to improve.”

MDE notes that while pandemic disruptions are believed to have affected this year’s national decline on NAEP, scores have been falling over the past decade in most states. However, despite this national trend, Mississippi is a leader among the few states that have shown improvements on one or more NAEP assessments over the past decade.

Examples from MDE of Mississippi’s improvements over the past decade include:

  • Mississippi achieved significant gains in 4th grade reading and math since 2011.
  • Along with Washington D.C., Mississippi is the only state or jurisdiction that improved over a 10-year period in two of the four core NAEP subjects.
  • Mississippi is one of only two states with improved 4th grade math scores over a decade and one of only three states with gains in 4th grade reading.
  • In 8th grade, Mississippi scores remained flat in reading and math over the past decade while the average scores nationally dropped in both subjects.

“In short, over the past 10 years, Mississippi has improved significantly in reading and math in 4th grade and held steady in both subjects in 8th grade while scores nationally in both grades and subjects have declined,” MDE said. “Pre-pandemic, student achievement steadily increased from the first administration of the state’s Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) in 2016 until 2019, when the percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced reached a record high. After a decline in MAAP scores in 2021, student achievement rebounded in 2022 to pre-pandemic levels.”

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: