Academic Achievement

Student performance in Mississippi is very weak—the state ranks among the lowest in the nation. Fourth graders stand 16 percentage points below the national average of 42% for students at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. 

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Mississippi earns a failing grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 11% of African-American 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam.

Return on Investment

Student achievement in Mississippi is very low relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living. 

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Mississippi posts mediocre marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

Mississippi earns a failing grade preparing its students for college and careers. At 68%, the state’s high school graduation rate is below the national average. Only 4 students out of 100 pass an AP exam.

21st Century Teacher Force

Mississippi does an average job of creating a strong teacher workforce. The Magnolia State struggles with retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective ones, but it consistently expands the pool of teachers. 

Parental Options

Mississippi does an average job providing parents with strong school choice options, although it has a weak charter school law.

Data Quality

Mississippi earns a good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. The state has a policy to develop a longitudinal data system and is expanding stakeholder capacity.


Mississippi receives a very poor grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. Students have limited access to high-quality digital learning options. 

International Competitiveness

Mississippi earns a failing grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. A dismal 16% of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard. Only 1 out of 100 students passes an AP STEM exam and only 1 out of 2,000 students passes an AP foreign language exam.

Fiscal Responsibility

Mississippi receives average marks on fiscal responsibility. While only 58% of Mississippi’s pension is funded, the state’s most recent pension contribution was more than 100%.