Mississippi leads nation in K-12 progress, college persistence in the South

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – According to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), Mississippi leads the nation in K-12 progress and college persistence among southern states. That’s according to SREB’s 2020 report on the progress of education in the South.

“The 2020 SREB report shows how Mississippi’s research-based education policies are improving student achievement from pre-K through college,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I am incredibly proud of all the hardworking students, educators and school leaders who have made Mississippi a national leader for advancing public education.”

SREB report highlights for Mississippi:

· Mississippi is the only state in region in which the first-year persistence rate of first-time, full time students at public, 4-year colleges and universities increased from 2012 to 2017, indicating that more first-time, full-time college students returned to college for a second year.

· The high school graduation rate outpaced the region in growth.

· The average state Pell Grant award exceeded the nation and was the highest average award in the region.

· Fourth graders outpaced the region and nation in gains in reading and math achievement at both the Basic and Proficient levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). For the first time, fourth graders in the state outperformed the nation in reading and math achievement on NAEP at the Basic level or above.

· Eighth graders outpaced the region and nation in gains in reading and math achievement at both the Basic and Proficient levels on NAEP.

· The ninth-grade enrollment increase shrank, indicating that more eighth graders are prepared to make transitions to ninth and then 10th grade.

· The Early Learning Collaboratives meet all 10 quality standards for pre-K, according to the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER). Mississippi is one of only four states that meet all NIEER quality standards.

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