Mississippi high school graduation rate at record 83 percent

State officials said Thursday that a record 83 percent of Mississippi seniors graduated on time from high school in 2016-2017, even as some lawmakers demand an end to subject tests that affect whether students can graduate.

Posted: Feb 15, 2018 10:47 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — State officials said Thursday that a record 83 percent of Mississippi seniors graduated on time from high school in 2016-2017, even as some lawmakers demand an end to subject tests that affect whether students can graduate.
State Superintendent Carey Wright said the higher rate is just one measure showing Mississippi schools are improving.
"Are we where we want to be nationally? No," said Wright. "Are the trend lines headed in the right direction? Absolutely."
The nationwide graduation rate is 84 percent, according to the most recent data.
Mississippi Department of Education officials said graduation rates rose for all groups of students, with African Americans at 79.3 percent and children from lower income families at 79.9 percent. The graduation rate for children with disabilities, a dismal 28 percent in 2015, has risen to 36 percent.
About 20 percent of students now graduate without passing end-of-course exams in English II, algebra I, biology and United States history, according to previous figures released by the department, which could be contributing to higher graduation rates.
Passing all four tests was required until 2014, in an effort to make sure students were learning the basics no matter where they attend school. But superintendents and lawmakers pressured the state to ditch them. To block lawmakers from killing the tests entirely, the state Board of Education voted in 2014 to allow students to graduate if they could show alternate measures of proficiency. They include scores of 17 or better on parts of the ACT college test, grades of C or better in a college course the student took while in high school, or certain scores on military entrance or career technical exams, combined with a career certification.
At the same time those changes were made, Mississippi's graduation began improving, rising from 74.5 percent of students in the Class of 2014 earning a diploma over four years to 83 percent now.
Right now, students can also pass if they fail a subject-area test but had high class grades, or get high enough scores on the other three tests. Beginning next year, the subject area test will count for 25 percent of the student's grade in the applicable course. Students whose regular grades are average or better will be able to fail the tests and still pass courses. However, some low-performing students who get bad scores on the tests could still be blocked from graduating.
Rep. Tom Miles, a Forest Democrat, inserted an amendment in House Bill 1592 on Tuesday saying "a student who fails to achieve a passing score on an end-of-course test may not be prohibited from graduating from high school" if they finish all the required courses with passing grades. The amendment could get stripped out by the Senate.
Wright on Thursday said the state needs to keep the tests, as Miles' amendment notes, to meet federal testing requirements. She said the tests also need to carry weight because the state uses the scores as part of grading high schools and school districts.
"I'm hearing from superintendents that they're fearful that children are not going to take these exams seriously and it's going to negatively impact their accountability scores," Wright said.
___
An earlier version of this story has been corrected to change the years to '2016-2017' instead of '2017-2018' in the first sentence and summary.
___
Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy . Read his work at https://www.apnews.com/search/Jeff_Amy .

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96677

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7143160
DeSoto559460
Harrison388374
Jackson350570
Madison331089
Rankin330679
Lee273670
Forrest248973
Jones248779
Washington225977
Lafayette219139
Lauderdale2059125
Bolivar184566
Oktibbeha179952
Lamar171635
Lowndes158058
Neshoba1579104
Panola149930
Sunflower147146
Leflore141081
Warren140750
Pontotoc127816
Pike124051
Monroe123568
Copiah119133
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall110617
Lincoln110253
Holmes109859
Grenada109036
Yazoo106230
Simpson104646
Tate100437
Union99824
Leake96038
Adams94137
Wayne90421
Pearl River89253
Marion86535
Prentiss86217
Covington82722
Itawamba82621
Alcorn82011
George78013
Tallahatchie77321
Newton77224
Winston74219
Tishomingo69038
Chickasaw68424
Tippah67117
Attala66725
Walthall60126
Clarke60046
Clay59518
Hancock58722
Jasper57515
Noxubee55116
Smith53415
Calhoun52112
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46420
Yalobusha43514
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38817
Humphreys37715
Quitman3775
Stone37412
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll31912
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2273
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 80°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 83°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 82°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather