Coast schools ace 3rd-grade reading state test, and 1 district saw huge improvement

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There's good news for public school districts on the Coast — all of them.

The Mississippi Department of Education on Tuesday released the results of the 3rd Grade Reading Assessment. Students who scored at the lowest level cannot move on to fourth grade without a special exception from their school district. And starting next year, students who score at the lowest two levels will not be able to pass.

Mississippi saw on average 93 percent of students pass in 2017, which is an increase from 87 percent in 2016 and 85 percent in 2015.

The Moss Point School District saw an increase of 16 percentage points in its passing rate. Moss Point Escatawpa Elementary School jumped from 77 in 2016 to the state average of 93, according to the 2017 results.

The Ocean Springs School District was the highest ranked district on the Coast, scoring above 95 percent, and the only one in South Mississippi in the top 10 scoring districts. The Picayune and Bay St. Louis school districts were the only Coast districts to miss the state average.

Five schools in Coast districts scored below 90 percent and only one school scored below 80 percent. Those are Benndale Elementary in George County, Pass Road Elementary in Gulfport, Arlington Heights Elementary and Lake Elementary in Pascagoula, and Nicholson Elementary in Picayune. L.C. Hatcher Elementary in George County scored below 80 percent.

More than 60 school districts had a pass rate of 95 percent or higher.

The test is a result of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, which requires third-grade students to pass a reading assessment before being promoted to fourth grade. The testing is conducted through Mississippi Academic Assessment Program.

Literacy Support Schools, which had literacy coaches assigned to them to provide support and training to teachers, had a pass rate of 88.4 percent this year, up from 87.5 percent in 2017, 78 percent in 2016 and 73 percent in 2015.

3rd Grade MAAP ELA Assessment for Coast school districts

Bay St. Louis Waveland School District 91.8 percent

Biloxi Public School District 94.2 percent

George County School District 94.3 percent

Gulfport School District ≥ 95 percent

Hancock County School District≥ 95 percent

Harrison County School District 95 percent

Jackson County School District 94.9 percent

Long Beach School District 95 percent

Moss Point School District 93 percent

Ocean Springs School District 95 percent

Pascagoula Gautier School District 93.4 percent

Pass Christian Public School District 95 percent

Pearl River County School District 95 percent

Picayune School District 92.4 percent

Poplarville School District 95 percent

Stone County School District 95 percent

*MDE did not provide exact passing rates for districts whose rate was greater than or equal to 95 percent.