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Quality Counts: Mississippi 2nd Most Improved State in Education

JACKSON, Miss. – For the third consecutive year, Mississippi earned national recognition for its progress in education, climbing to be among the top five states or jurisdictions with the greatest improvement, according to the latest Quality Counts report published in Education Week. Mississippi ranked second among states with the most improved states, excluding the jurisdiction of Washington, D.C. The report examines achievement in school systems from prekindergarten through grade 12 and socioeconomic factors leading to success in adulthood.

Mississippi earned an overall grade of C-minus (70.5 out of 100 points), inching closer to the national average. The nation’s overall grade was a C (72.8 out of 100 points). 

Mississippi, District of Columbia, South Dakota and Louisiana all saw their overall scores improve. The Quality Counts report is released in three phases based on indicators for opportunities for success, school funding and achievement. In February, Mississippi was recognized for gaining 6.2 points in the Chance-for-Success Index, improving its grade from a D+ in 2008 to a C in 2020. The report stated key advances in family income, parental education levels, parental employment, 4th grade reading, and 8th grade math contributed to the state’s success.

Mississippi also made the most progress in the nation on the K-12 Achievement Index from 2019 to 2020. Its score jumped by 5.2 points during that time fueled by increases in the percentage of 4th grade students proficient in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

“This is outstanding national recognition for our teachers and leaders in the state. We have challenged students to meet higher standards of learning, and they are succeeding,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “This is validation that over time, we can change the trajectory of public education in Mississippi and raise expectations for what our students can do.”

In 2019, Mississippi achieved the No. 1 spot in the nation for gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card. NAEP measures student proficiency in 4th and 8th grade reading and mathematics, and Mississippi was the only state in the nation to show significant increases in three of the four NAEP subjects. Washington, D.C., was the only jurisdiction to show gains in three of four subjects.


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