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Mississippi Success Story

Updated Jan. 23, 2023

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Mississippi students can’t achieve great things. With the help of district and school leaders and dedicated teachers, students are rewriting the story about public education in the state. The narrative of “failing” Mississippi schools has been told for so long that many people don’t know that Mississippi students and schools are actually succeeding. 

Our success is attracting national attention. The Education Week Quality Counts report ranked Mississippi No. 2 in the nation for improvement in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Quality Counts ranked Mississippi No. 2 in 2021 for closing 4th grade reading achievement gap between students in low-income families and their wealthier peers. What is more, Mississippi's Quality Counts ranking for K-12 achievement has risen from 50th in 2013 to 35th in 2021.   

While Mississippi has more improvement to make, it is clear that the state’s steady achievements in education demonstrate that substantial progress has been made. The public education community is changing the narrative of what Mississippi students can accomplish with the right supports, higher expectations and bold initiatives.

Mississippi has achieved unprecedented academic success and student achievement is rising every year. Here’s the whole story.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

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. This achievement holds steady among black, white and Hispanic students living in poverty.

Mississippi’s Rankings for NAEP Gains (2011 to 2022)

  • No. 1 in 4th grade mathematics
  • No. 1 in 4th grade reading
  • No. 3 in 8th grade math
  • No. 7 in 8th grade reading
  • Only state with significant gains in two of four tested subjects

Early Childhood Education


Literacy skills among students in pre-K through the 3rd grade have steadily improved:

Student Proficiency

Advanced Learning and Career Preparation

  • Advanced Placement (AP) participation and achievement (scores of 3 or higher) doubled since 2013
  • African-American students achieving an AP qualifying score of 3 or higher in 2022 increased 44.4 percent over the previous school year and Hispanic student achievement increased 45.4 percent
  • The AP exam pass rate reached an all-time high of 37.7 percent in 2022
  • Participation in dual credit courses more than doubled from 2016 to 2022, with a 94.6 percent pass rate in 2022
  • Mississippi’s graduation rate reached an all-time high of 88.9 percent in 2022, exceeding the most recent national rate of 86 percent
  • The statewide drop-out rate fell to 9.0 percent in 2022, a decrease from 13.9 percent in 2014. 

  • Graduation rate increased for all subgroups from 2014 to 2022, with the rate for students with disabilities more than doubling from 23.2 percent to 67.1 percent.

2021-22 Accountability

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