The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released achievement gap data for students who took statewide assessments in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics in the 2020-21 school year.
The achievement gap analysis report identifies any disparity in academic performance between subgroups of Mississippi’s students in grades 3-12. In accordance with federal guidelines, the achievement gap is calculated based on the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in the following student subgroups:
- All students
- Major racial and ethnic groups
- Students with disabilities
- Limited English-proficient students
- Economically disadvantaged students
This year’s gap analysis includes a note of caution for interpreting the results because COVID-19 disrupted so many facets of education. The disruptions may have influenced a student’s opportunity to learn, motivation and/or assessment administration conditions. Also, proficiency decreased among all student subgroups, with some decreasing more than others. These decreases likely reflect the disparate impact of the pandemic on certain subgroups.
This year’s analysis compares achievement gaps from 2018-19 to 2020-21. Results include:
- Gap decreased 4.8% between English speaking students and English learners in ELA
- Gap decreased 4.0% between students without disabilities and students with disabilities in ELA
- Gap decreased slightly (less than 1%) between white students and African-American and Hispanic students in ELA and widened in mathematics (4.8% for African-American students; 3.5% for Hispanic students)
- Gap increased between economically disadvantaged and not economically disadvantaged students in both ELA (1.4%) and mathematics (4.4%)
Though some gaps narrowed, significant gaps still exist between student population groups. Economically disadvantaged students show the greatest achievement gap when compared to their more affluent peers in both ELA (31.8%) and mathematics (35.8%).
“School districts can use the data in this report to further evaluate the impact of the pandemic and to implement plans to address the disparity of performance between all student groups,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Districts have received federal COVID-19 relief funds to ensure they are able to provide direct support to students such as tutoring and other enrichment activities. The MDE will continue to provide technical assistance and support to teachers, schools and districts to help them address the impact of the pandemic on student learning.”