Mississippi announces changes to grading, passing policies for 2020-21 school year

Mississippi announces changes to grading, passing policies for 2020-21 school year
(Source: Marissa Voss)

JACKSON, Miss. (WMC) - The Mississippi State Board of Education announced changes to grading and passing requirements Thursday in response to the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board voted to suspend three statewide policies on assessment and accountability for the 2020-21 school year.

All required state and federal assessments will still be administered, but the policy suspensions mean schools and districts will not receive A through F letter grades for their performance for the school year. Third graders will not be required to pass a reading test to advance to fourth grade and high school students do not have to pass end-of-course assessments to meet graduation requirements.

Read more on the policy suspensions below:

Third graders -- Current students will take the reading/language arts assessment but are not required to meet a passing score to advance to fourth grade for the 2021-22 school year. students must still meet other district requirements to advance.

High school students -- Eligible students who take end-of-course assessments for Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History in the 2020-21 school year are not required to meet a passing score to meet high school graduation requirements. Students must still meet other state and district requirements to graduate.

A through F accountability grades for schools and districts -- No A through F letter grades will be assigned to schools and districts for the 2020-21 school year becasue the MDE will not have sufficient data to calculate grades based on state and federal requirements. Instead, schools and districts will retain their most recent grades earned in the 2018-19 school year.

“This year’s statewide assessments will provide valuable information about the impact of COVID-19 on learning and will help identify where accelerated learning opportunities for students are most needed,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “The policy suspensions are intended to support schools through this intensely challenging year for educators and students.”

MDE will report results of all statewide assessments during 2020-21 and submit information and a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education to meet federal requirements for assessment and accountability.

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