Baxterville students ace reading scores

By BUSTER WOLFE,
In her report to the Lamar County School District Board of Trustees Tuesday night, Tess Smith first thanked the board for supporting pre-kindergarten education. Then, she brought out the good news.
 
“Our third-grade reading scores came in last Saturday actually,” she said. “Our district had a 95.5 percent pass rate. That’s close to the same last year, maybe a little bit up. Baxterville was 100 percent again; that’s the second year in a row.”
 
The School Board met Tuesday night in the Oak Grove Middle School library.
 
According to the state Department of Education, the Literacy-Based Promotion Act of 2013 requires third-grade students to demonstrate at the end of the school year that they are ready for fourth-grade reading instruction. Research has proven that students who are not reading on grade level at the end of third grade are likely to struggle as they progress in school.
 
Third-grade students who do not pass the reading test may qualify for an exemption and be promoted. These are “good cause” exemptions.
 
The next testing dates for the third-grade reading assessment are May 25 and June 25-Aug. 3.
 
Smith also spoke about improvements for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.
 
“The MKAS are kindergarten-readiness tests and our scores for pre-K and kindergarten are complete,” she said. “Our scale top scores in the pre-K and kindergarten were Baxterville again. The district scale score for the district was 721, which was up 22 points. That was the highest scale score that we ever recorded since we started this in 2014.”