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Mississippi’s Literacy Based Promotion Act Working as Students, Parents and Teachers See Major Gains in Reading

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today released Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act: An Inside Look, a study of Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) with input from the Mississippi Department of Education and teachers around the state. The impact study also includes interviews with the superintendent and staff from two districts – Jackson Public Schools and Sunflower County Consolidated School District – that have continuously increased performance of young readers since the enactment of Mississippi’s reading program six years ago.

“Mississippi is a shining example of how placing a command focus on early literacy can lead to rising student achievement. The state’s visionary policymakers and dedicated classroom teachers and school leaders are providing Mississippi’s students with the strong foundation needed for maximizing learning potential and ensuring children have the opportunity for lifelong success.”

Patricia Levesque, ExcelinEd CEO

According to the study, teachers and literacy leaders overwhelmingly agreed that the early literacy program has provided the support necessary for improving reading instruction, which has led to more students prepared to make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. According to one teacher, one of the most positive aspects of the LBPA is “how it helps educators to reach all learners in the classroom.”

Additional findings from the study include:

  • Since the implementation of the LBPA, schools have increased efforts to engage parents of struggling readers (90 percent of teachers surveyed agreed).
  • Reading coaches or literacy leaders provide support that helps teachers improve their reading instruction (89 percent of teachers surveyed agreed).
  • Because of the LBPA, schools have increased learning time for struggling readers (86 percent of teachers surveyed agreed).
  • The LBPA has a positive impact on improving K-3 reading outcomes in schools (85 percent of teachers surveyed agreed).
  • Educators voiced the need for funding additional literacy coaches to support quality instruction in more classrooms.

Recent student outcome data also underscores the success of the LBPA in Mississippi. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” showed that since the law was enacted in 2013, there has been a 6-percent increase in students reading at or above grade level and a 7-percent decrease in students reading below grade level, making the state second in the nation in learning gains. Mississippi third-graders have also seen a 12-percentage point increase on the reading portion of the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program for English Language Arts assessment over the past three years.

To learn more about the importance of early literacy programs, visit ExcelinEd’s Policy Library.