JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Thursday, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released the statewide results from the 2021-22 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP).

According to education leaders, the results show student achievement exceeding pre-pandemic levels in English Language Arts (ELA) and science and nearly tying in mathematics.

Overall, the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced reached an all-time high of 42.2% in ELA and 55.9% in science, and reached 47.3% in mathematics, which is just shy of the pre-pandemic rate of 47.4%.

“The 2021-22 assessment results provide clear and indisputable evidence of the resilience of our students and educators and their ability to recover from the disruptions to learning,” said Dr. Kim Benton, interim state superintendent of education. “We are confident Mississippi educators and school leaders across the state will continue to build upon this progress by setting high expectations and working to ensure every student in every school overcomes the setbacks of the pandemic and is successful.”

The state administered a new U.S. History assessment in 2020-21; the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced on this assessment increased from 47.4% in 2020-21 to 69.3% in 2021-22.

By 2021-22, districts had more experience managing pandemic disruptions and were provided with additional support, including federal COVID-19 relief funds and state investments to help accelerate learning. MDE leaders said the additional funds enabled districts to pay for extended learning days, tutorial services and intensive interventions, among other supports.

“There have been incredible efforts in districts and at the state level to remove barriers for students,” Dr. Benton said. “We still have students in areas of the state who have not completely rebounded. Support will continue to be available in the upcoming school year and next summer to make sure every student is able to recover from the disruptions to their learning and narrow achievement gaps.

MDE officials said the overall increase in assessment scores in 2021-22 after the decline in 2020-21 will likely impact district and school grades because the calculation of the state’s A-F accountability grades relies heavily on the amount of progress students make from one year to the next.

Governor Tate Reeves and Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) President Erica Jones released statements about the results.

Mississippi education performance has once again reached new record highs. While states in other parts of the country kept their students out of the classroom, Mississippi committed to in-person instruction. These results speak loud and clear as to which approach was best for kids. 

And, in Mississippi, we still believe in rewarding success – today’s results are yet more proof of how well deserved the historic teacher pay raise was that went into effect last month.

Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Miss.)

Today’s good news concerning the significant rise in student scores is a testament to the hard work and determination Mississippi’s teachers have given to their students.

We are delighted to learn that despite a pandemic that caused class interruption, required students and teachers to rearrange and reconfigure learning environments, and disrupted learning goals and plans, our teachers and students prevailed.

In spite of many unprecedented hardships, our students were determined to learn, and our teachers were determined to help them achieve to their highest potential!

We are so proud of Mississippi’s teachers. They could have easily thrown in the towel, but they didn’t. And our students experienced success because of it.

Congratulations, colleagues! You have shown our fellow Mississippians what grit and courage can accomplish.

Erica Jones, MAE president

Accountability grades for the 2021-22 school year will be released at the Mississippi State Board of Education meeting on September 29.