Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion Act Information for Educators

Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion Act
Information for Educators
 The Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion Act aims to ensure that
every student reads at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
 In 2013, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the Literacy-Based Promotion Act into law.
 In 2013, Mississippi 4th graders were reading over one full grade level behind the national average on the
National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) assessment.
K-3 students will be assessed at the beginning of the school year using a universal screener. The STAR Kindergarten
Readiness assessment will be used for all public school kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students. Grades 1-3 will
be assessed using their district’s identified screener. In elementary schools where a literacy coach is assigned, the
state-adopted screening suite will be used. The beginning of the year assessment should occur within the first 30
days of school. In addition, students in grades 1-3 should be assessed again during the middle of the school year.
Communicating with Parents
Teachers should inform parents about their child’s reading proficiency regularly and in writing*. The first report of
deficiency must occur within 30 days of the start of school. The mid-year assessment report should be delivered by
February. Student reading progress or deficiencies must also be documented in quarterly report cards.
Note: When communicating with parents, be sure to explain literacy terms such as fluency and phonemic awareness.
Provide examples and specific suggestions for how parents can work with their children at home.
Each written notification to parents will include the following:
 Notification that the student has a “substantial deficiency in reading”
 Description of the school services being provided for the student
 Description of the proposed supplemental instruction services and supports to remediate the deficiency
 Explanation to parents and guardians that if the deficiency is not remediated, the student will not be
promoted to 4th grade unless a “good cause exemption” is granted
 Strategies for parents or guardians to help their child to improve reading (Parent Read-At-Home Plan*)
 Explanation to parents or guardians about the multiple measures that will be used to determine promotion
to 4th grade, including approved alternative standardized assessments. For the 2014-15 school year, the 3rd
Grade Summative Assessment will be administered in April with one retest opportunity in May and one
retest opportunity in the summer of 2015.
*Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion Act Implementation Guide: www.mde.k12.ms.us/literacy (Appendix F:
Sample Letter for Readers Determined to Have Reading Deficiency; Appendix H: Parent Read-At-Home Plan)
Good Cause Exemptions
 Students with limited English proficiency with less than two years instruction in English Language Learner
 Students with disabilities whose individual education plan (IEP) indicates that participation in statewide
accountability assessment program is not appropriate
 Students with a disability whose IEP or Section 504 plan indicates the student has received intensive
remediation for two years but still demonstrates deficiency in reading and was previously retained
 Students who demonstrate acceptable level of reading proficiency on an MDE approved alternative
standardized assessment
 Students who have received intensive intervention in reading for two or more years but have been previously
retained for a total of two years and have not met exceptional education criteria
Top Reading Instructional Tips for Teachers
All teachers should read aloud to students every day and provide:
 Explicit and systematic instruction in the five components of reading, providing more detailed explanations,
more extensive opportunities for guided practice, and more opportunities for error correction and feedback
 Direct vocabulary instruction
 Opportunities for the development or enhancement of speaking and listening skills
 Data-driven small-group reading instruction
 Instruction in writing skills through the use of connected texts and responses to literature
Intervention for Retained 3rd Graders
Students retained in 3rd grade will receive more intensive reading intervention services including:
 Reading instruction provided by a high-performing teacher
 90 minutes of dedicated time each day for intensive reading instruction
 Research-based reading instruction that addresses the five components of reading
 Frequent progress monitoring to help ensure students are on track for grade-level reading
 A Read-At-Home Plan outlined in a parental contract
At the district’s discretion, students retained could also be provided small group instruction; tutoring in reading; an
extended school day, week, or year; Summer Reading Camps; or other appropriate instructional support provided by
the district.
Support for Teachers
Professional Development: The MDE is providing continued intensive training on the science of reading and databased decision making to inform instruction. Participants include K-3 teachers and principals, as well as university
faculty, across the state.
Teacher Supports: For 2014-15, the MDE has deployed 41 literacy coaches – educators with expertise in literacy – to
67 target schools and 39 districts across Mississippi to support teachers in the areas of effective reading instruction
and intensive intervention. Target schools are selected based on schools the percentage of 3rd grade students reading
below proficiency on the state assessment. The MDE also has hired additional specialists with expertise in literacy and
has placed them in regional locations across the state to provide ongoing assistance to teachers and principals in all
Assessments: The MDE has provided the Mississippi K-3 Assessment Support System (MKAS2), which includes a
universal screener, diagnostic information, a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, and a 3rd Grade Reading Summative
Assessment. The MKAS2 will ensure that students’ reading difficulties are identified early; reading intervention is
provided based on student need; and, students are on track for grade level reading proficiency.
Principal’s Role: The principal is the school’s instructional leader, establishing the vision for literacy at the school. The
principal should provide guidance and support to teachers, parents, and the community to successfully implement an
effective reading program, including a research-based K-3 reading curriculum and a comprehensive assessment
system. The principal should monitor and evaluate the school’s literacy instructional program to ensure that student
outcomes are met and there is a focus on continuous improvement.
Other Resources:
 Put Reading First (K-3): www.centeroninstruction.org/files/PutReadingFirst2ndEd.pdf
 K-3 Professional Development System: www.soprislearning.com/mde-letrs/
 To receive emails about MDE training opportunities, subscribe to the Curriculum & Instruction Listserv: