Each district in South Mississippi saw its students achieve an average score on spring kindergarten assessments that place the students "on a trajectory toward mastery of grade 3 reading expectations," according to the Mississippi Department of Education.
Out of 64 schools in the area, five saw average scores lower than that 681 mark in the second year of statewide kindergarten testing.
That distinction is important because the same year the state began testing kindergartners, it also began testing third-graders on their literacy skills with the threat of holding back some students who don't pass.
Statewide, 63 percent of students are considered ready for first grade, an improvement from May 2015, when that number was 56 percent.
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South Mississippi had several schools who led the pack on the assessments.
Perkinston Elementary School in Stone County had the highest average score in the state at 814. The statewide average was 703. West Wortham Elementary and Middle School and Pineville Elementary, both in Harrison County, were in the top 10 schools.
Stone County and Pearl River County school districts were in the top 10 districts with average scores of 765 and 757, respectively.
Kindergarten Readiness Assessments involve two tests: one at the beginning of the school year to see if students are ready for kindergarten and one at the end.
Mississippi schools seemed to be better able this year to prepare students for first grade, though students, on average, were not any more prepared for kindergarten.
In the fall of 2015, 36.2 percent of students scored a 530 or above, the cutoff score established as a minimum for kindergarten readiness.
In the fall of 2014, that number of 34.6 percent.