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.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Columbus
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Oxford
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 38°
Starkville
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 42°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather