The Mississippi Department of Education on Wednesday released the results of the 2018-2019 3rd Grade Reading Assessment.

In the Hancock County School District, 16.7 percent of third-graders did not meet the Literacy-Based Promotion Act requirements. In the Pass Christian School District, 21.5 percent of third-graders did not meet the LBPA requirements. In the Bay-Waveland School District, 22.1 percent of third-graders did not meet the LBPA requirements.

According to MDE, the LBPA requires third-graders to "pass a reading assessment to qualify for promotion to 4th grade. An amendment to the law in 2016 raised reading-level expectations starting in the 2018-19 school year, requiring third-graders to score at level three or higher on the reading portion of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program English Language Arts assessment."

According to an MDE release, 74.5 percent of the state's third-graders met the higher standards, with 25.5 percent who did not. Those students will have two opportunities to retest prior to the new school year, a release from MDE states.

"This year's assessment is a new beginning because the passing score has been raised one level to move closer to measuring proficiency," state Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said in the release. "Students need strong reading skills in order to learn other school subjects, such as science, social studies, writing, and even math. I am proud of all the students, teachers, school leaders, and parents who have worked hard to help students become competent readers by the end of third-grade."

According to the LBPA, students who do not pass the reading assessment must be retained in the third-grade. Exemptions apply to "certain students with disabilities, students learning English, or students who have been previously retained. Local school districts determine which of their students who did not pass qualify for one of the good cause exemptions for promotion to fourth-grade. The law requires schools to provide intensive reading intervention services to students retained in the third-grade and to students promoted to the fourth-grade with a good cause exemption."

"Literacy must remain a major focus in pre-K through third-grade to help students build the foundational reading skills they need to be successful throughout school," Wright said in the release. "As we raise expectations for students, we must do all that we can to help them meet higher academic standards."

The MDE has "assigned 80 literacy coaches to 182 schools throughout the state where data show students struggle the most with reading."

MDE will announce in June which schools will receive grants for summer reading camps, the release states.

Overall in the Hancock County School District, 83.3 percent of third-graders met LBPA requirements. At East Hancock Elementary School, 93.5 percent met requirements; at Hancock North Central Elementary, 79.1 percent met requirements; at South Hancock Elementary School, 78.3 percent met requirements; at West Hancock Elementary School, 77.2 percent met requirements.

Hancock County School District Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said Friday that he was "very excited that our students performed well."

He attributed the students' results to "hard work and planning by teachers and staff."

"The students really worked hard on this assessment," Dedeaux said. "We do a lot of proactive things in that area and identify kids with troubles. Interventions start in about the first or second grade."

Students who did not meet the LBPA requirements retested about a week ago, he said.

"We do not have the results yet, but I feel like we have some students that will do well and further that success rate," Dedeaux said.

Overall, 78.5 percent of Pass Christian School District's third-graders met the LBPA requirements. At DeLisle Elementary School, 79.7 percent met the requirements; and at Pass Christian Elementary School, 77.3 percent met the requirements.

Overall, 77.9 percent of Bay-Waveland School District's third-graders at North Bay Elementary met LBPA requirements.

Calls to Pass Christian School District Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers and Bay-Waveland School District Dr. Sandra Reed were unreturned by press time Friday.

For a complete listing of results, visit https://www.mdek12.org/OPR/Reporting/Assessment/2018-19.

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