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Kindergarteners, Pre-K Students Achieve Steady Gains on Statewide Assessment

August 17, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. – For the third year in a row, the results of Mississippi’s statewide assessment of learning in pre-K and kindergarten show that the majority of the state’s youngest students have made significant gains during the academic year, with the average statewide score exceeding the previous two school years. 

Close to 37,000 kindergarteners took the STAR Early Literacy exam in the fall and spring of the 2016-17 school year. The state average score for the fall test was 502. The average score climbed to 710 on the spring test. The score gain is greater than last year, which grew from 502 in the fall to 703 in the spring.

“Mississippi kindergarten teachers are continuing to do a great job helping students build the foundational literacy skills they need to be successful throughout their education,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Reading instruction must remain a major focus through the 3rd grade so that all children complete elementary school with strong reading skills.”

Every district in the state showed progress among their kindergarten classes, though student achievement varied. District average scores ranged from 609 to 782.

Statewide, 65% of kindergarteners scored above the end-of-year target score of 681, which categorizes them as transitional readers. Students scoring at this level are beginning to read unfamiliar words and easy reader material, but are not yet independent readers. At the end of the 2015-16 school year, 63% met the target score, up from 54% in 2014-15.

The STAR Early Literacy exam evaluates skills such as the ability to recognize letters and match letters to their sounds and a student’s recognition that print flows from left to right. The exam produces reports for parents and teachers that detail each child’s early reading skills. Teacher reports also include diagnostic information and instructional plans for every student.

Pre-K students in the state’s Early Learning Collaboratives (ELCs) and other public pre-K classes for 4-year-olds also made steady gains on the STAR Early Literacy exam.

The average score among students in ELCs was 585, which exceeded the pre-K end-of-year target score of 498. The average score among 4-year-olds in other public pre-K classrooms was 549.


“I am proud of our state’s pre-K and kindergarten teachers and school leaders for their hard work and dedication to equipping our state’s youngest learners for success,” Wright said. “Our schools’ and teachers’ focus on literacy in the early years will have a significant impact on student achievement for years to come.”

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist