Through a partnership between Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit, and analytics software company SAS, the state of Mississippi now has a new online tool that shows the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on student achievement and progress and how school districts are allocating Federal funds to support student learning.

A press release explains that the analysis isolates the impact of the pandemic on student groups, and a public dashboard provides results to educators and school leaders to help guide recovery.

“In Mississippi, we kept our kids in the classroom so they could receive in-person instruction, and that made all the difference in their education results,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “This new dashboard provides a great opportunity for the public to access and analyze education data and better understand the work being done to continue improving Mississippi’s education system.”

Mississippi found that while students were negatively impacted in 2021, they largely performed close to their pre-pandemic expectations in 2022.

The governor’s office explained that by working with SAS the state is using “statistical approaches proven over decades” to compare students and predict how students would have scored on assessments absent the pandemic. The state is then able to compare how students actually performed to how they were predicted to perform. The online dashboard can aggregate results at the school, district, and student group levels. The state said it calculates pre-pandemic expectations using historical state assessment data through 2019 and compares both 2020-21 and 2021-22 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program results to those expectations.

Gov. Reeves said the state believes measuring the varying amount of impact on student groups is “essential” to targeted recovery efforts to bridge gaps in educational achievement.

The dashboard also enables users to see how each school district in Mississippi is investing their Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. The funds are intended to help students accelerate learning and can be used to improve school facilities.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs