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On the Come Up: Mississippi Academic Achievement Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels

The latest statewide academic assessment results from the Mississippi Department of Education are out, and they show student achievement exceeding pre-pandemic levels in English language arts and science and nearly tying in mathematics. Overall, students made significant progress between 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years, as schools focused on overcoming the “coronavirus slide” and addressing declines in overall student achievement.

This is great news and definitely a cause for celebration. It’s wonderful to witness the resilience of Mississippi youth. But a deeper dive into the data underscores the need for progress, both throughout the state and here in Jackson.

The disruption and stress of the pandemic is affecting the learning and performance of students across the country. Prior to the pandemic, Mississippi students, teachers and schools began to achieve historic academic gains, and the come-up is strong for much of the state.

Statewide results from the 2021-2022 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program show that student achievement has exceeded pre-pandemic levels in English language arts and science and is nearly tied in mathematics. Courtesy Mississippi Department of Education

For example, statewide, 44% of high-school students who took the end-of-year English II exam scored either proficient or advanced. In Jackson Public Schools, only 26.5% did so. For Algebra I, the difference was even greater, with nearly 65% of middle-school and high-school students statewide scoring either proficient or advanced, compared with 44% in Jackson. Of even greater concern, only 1% of JPS students scored at the top level.

Education, Economic Development and Equity

Better-educated citizens make better decisions about the future of our state, nation and world. That is why I am passionate about the link between education and economic development, and the equitable solutions needed to bridge performance gaps. Ten years ago, I launched Jackson Education Support to put that passion to work, helping students, test-takers and educators with learning tools, workshops and private coaching. My work involves connecting with stakeholders to empower young learners to become more independent learners, better problem-solvers and critical thinkers.

I see progress every day, both with individual students striving to learn and improve and with our community’s

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