JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced more than 76% of 31,623 third graders passed the initial reading assessment for the 2022-23 school year.

According to MDE, the percentage exceeds the 2021-22 initial rate of 73.9% as well as the 2018-19 initial rate of 74.5% before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I applaud the teachers, administrators, literacy coaches and families who worked to support students in achieving this goal. The work will continue until all students are proficient and showing growth,” said Mike Kent, interim state superintendent of education.

Third graders who do not pass the initial administration of the reading test are given up to two attempts to retest.

The Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) became law in 2013 to improve reading skills of kindergarten through third-grade students in public schools so every student completing the third grade is able to read at or above grade level. The LBPA requires Mississippi third graders to pass a reading assessment to qualify for promotion to fourth grade.

Students who did not pass the reading assessment on their first attempt last month were retested May 8-12. The second retest window is June 19-30. Some students may qualify for good cause exemptions to be promoted to fourth grade.