JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced that 85% of Mississippi third graders passed the 3rd-grade reading assessment after final retests for the 2021-22 school year.

The rate is almost the same as the 2018-19 school year when 86% of third graders passed the assessment. The assessment was not administered in 2019-20 due to COVID-19. The assessment was administered once in 2020-21, but the passing requirement was waived.

MDE officials said district-level pass rates are published in the Literacy-Based Promotion Act Annual Report of Performance and Student Retention for the 2021-22 school year.

The Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) enacted in 2013 was created to help ensure kindergarten through 3rd-grade students develop good reading skills. The law was amended in 2016 and requires all Mississippi 3rd-grade public school students to score at level 3 or higher on the reading portion of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program English Language Arts (MAAP-ELA) test to qualify to be promoted to 4th grade.

“The current 3rd-grade reading results are very encouraging,” said Dr. Kim Benton, state superintendent of education, interim. “Not seeing a steep decline in the passing rate is positive news, considering disruptions to learning caused by the pandemic. MDE plans to continue offering resources to schools, districts and families to help ensure more 3rd-graders become proficient in reading and will continue to provide literacy support grounded in the science of reading for students in upper elementary and middle school to further advance learning outcomes.”