Video: New Spring Testing For Third Graders

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Spring always is a busy and important test-taking time for students and teachers across North Mississippi. But this year, some tests are even more important.

Experts say reading ability is the key to long-term career success. As part of major reforms the state’s long-term education system, Mississippi third graders will be faced with a new test in April, and the stakes are high.

Wilson Elementary Principal, DJ Ward said, “We have done a lot of extensive intervention with students using our star reading program to help students prepare for the test.”

The Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires third-graders to pass a reading comprehension test to progress to the fourth grade. The focus of what is known as Third-Grade Reading Gate is prevention and intervention to catch students at the earliest ages so they can excel later. But negative results can be a shock to unsuspecting parents. That’s why schools like Wilson Elementary in Noxubee County are getting parents involved on the front end.

Ward goes on to say, “We have provided information to parents. Teachers conducted a workshop to give parents information that they can use to help there students at home with. A lot of the time it’s just you reading to your students, providing material and resources on reading and students need to read anything they can get their hands on to improve their reading skills. ”

The Mississippi Department of Education also will hold eight meetings throughout the state to help parents strengthen their child’s literacy skills.

“We have a literacy coach from the state department here working with our students,” said Ward.

Wilson and many schools have designated special extended reading blocks where students are required to read. Wilson also implements DEAR, drop everything and read at two thirty everyday. And schools are pushing more training through next month to give teachers every tool possible to help their students.

Ward goes on to explain that his 3rd grade teachers are currently at a three day conference, where they will learn skills to help enhance the pass rate.

Schools have been using pre-tests since last fall to gauge student progress. Some schools still are reporting as many as 35 percent of students who may not pass while others say their numbers are down to a small percentage.



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