The Mississippi Department of Education released results of the 2020-21 Academic Assessment Program, which measures student performance in public schools and it shows that the Grenada School District excelled even during the COVID–19 pandemic.
The Mississippi Statewide Accountability System released test results from the 2020-21 school year without letter grades or growth scores. Due to the suspension of testing during the 2019-20 school year, GSD officials said growth scores could not be calculated with the 2020-21 data.
While as a state, school districts saw a drop in scores on average, the GSD managed to have proficiency averages above the state average in both ELA and mathematics.
According to Dr. Lyle Williams, the school district’s administrative academic officer, GSD ranked above the majority of the other districts in all of the areas tested. Williams said some highlights include the district’s rankings in math.
The third grade achieved third place, fourth grade ranked 12th, while fifth grade achieved 11th place across the state,” Williams said. “Joining these achievements, eighth grade placed 18th, while our Algebra 1 students placed 14th across the state.”
Williams said MDE releases the percent of students who scored proficient and advanced.
“Even though the state percentages declined due to COVID and virtual instruction, the Grenada School District scored above the state average in all areas across 144 school districts,” Williams said.
In English, GSD third grade students ranked 14th in the state, 4th grade ranked 25th, while 5th grade ranked 20th in the state. According to the MAAP, English II students placed 27th among the those in the state In science, fifth graders achieved sixth place, and eighth grade ranked 22nd across the state. According to the assessment, Biology I and U.S. History students ranked 16th in the state.
At the start of the 2020-21 school year, the school district developed three options for students to attend classes, those were: traditional, hybrid and virtual.
At the start of this year, the district removed the hybrid schedule and returned to in-person classes. Virtual classes were only allowed with principal approval.
Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault, who has been a longtime advocate of in-person learning, said Grenada stands out when it comes to a comparison of numbers throughout the state. “I am very proud of the hard work by our students, teachers, specialists, administrators, and parents through these difficult times,” Daigneault said. “The 2020-21 school year was a tough year, but a high level of effort was placed into the school year, so our students could continue to grow. GSD will continue to strive toward our mission of Education, Training, and Dreams.”
The MDE said the pandemic greatly impacted statewide assessment scores.
MAAP measures student performances in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and in English II (high school) and Algebra I (high school).
For the first time since MAAP tests were first administered in 2016, student proficiency decreased in math and ELA.
Students were last tested in 2019 and reached an all-time high level of proficiency in math and ELA, according to the MDE.
The state’s proficiency average for mathematics was 35.1 percent, which was a 12.3 percent decrease from 2019’s statewide average of 35.1 percent. The ELA average was 34.9 percent, which was only a 6.7 percent decrease from 2019’s average of 41.6.
All grades saw a decrease in proficiency statewide, except for eighth grade ELA, which had a 0.1 percent increase from its 2019 average.
“The disruption and stress caused by COVID-19 has had an impact on student performance in every state in the country and the impact has been more marked in mathematics than in English Language Arts,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I am proud of the way Mississippi students, families, teachers and school leaders persevered through the most challenging school year of their lives.”