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More Than 5,000 Mississippi Third-Graders Could Be Held Back This Year For Low Reading Scores

Results of the new third-grade reading test announced Thursday that aimed to make it tougher for students to advance if they don’t read at grade level could mean 15 percent of the test-takers will repeat third grade in Mississippi.

Some 38,000 public school students took the Third-Grade Reading Summative Assessment, widely known as the “third-grade gate,” created under state law to address lagging reading skills and prevent the practice of “social promotions.”

Last year, about 5,000 third-graders scored below proficient on another reading test but were not held back because there was no law in place requiring it. But this year the Literacy Based Promotion Act passed by state lawmakers in 2013 that created the test, kicked in. It aimed to measure “how well Mississippi third graders perform in terms of the Reading standards that are part of the English Language Arts (ELA) standards,” part of the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards, formerly known as Common Core.