August 21, 2017

Renaissance Star Early Literacy supports pre-K, kindergarten success in Mississippi

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (August 21, 2017)Renaissance®, the leader in pre-K–12 learning analytics, has announced the results of its Renaissance Star Early Literacy® Mississippi statewide assessment of learning in pre-K and kindergarten. The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) confirms that the results show a majority of these students have made significant gains during the academic year. This is the third year in a row that the state’s youngest students have made academic gains, with the average statewide score exceeding that of the previous two school years.

Nearly 37,000 Mississippi kindergarteners took the Star Early Literacy assessment in the fall and spring of the 2016-2017 school year. Statewide, 65 percent of kindergarteners scored above the end-of-year target score of 681. At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, 63 percent met the target score, up from 54 percent in 2014-2015. The target score of 681 signifies ‘transitional’ readers, or students who are beginning to read unfamiliar words and easy reader material and are on their way to becoming independent readers.

“It’s extremely encouraging to see the steady gains Mississippi students are making on the Star Early Literacy assessment,” says Laurie Borkon, vice president of government affairs at Renaissance. “Knowing the crucial role early literacy plays in laying the foundation for future educational success, this is a major accomplishment for the state. We congratulate the pre-K and kindergarten teachers in Mississippi, and wish them continued success in the school year ahead.”

Kathleen Grigsby, principal at Davis IB Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, the top elementary school in the state for five years in a row, recognizes that skills assessment is crucial in helping ensure kindergartners at her school achieve proficiency and growth in preparation for future grades.

“We rely on Star Early Literacy for fast, accurate assessments that help set the stage for student growth,” says Grigsby. “From the data yielded on foundational reading, language, vocabulary, and numeracy skills, our focused instructional teams can pinpoint the differentiated instruction needed to help us ensure every student is grade-level proficient and has mastered critical learnings for future grades.”

Research-validated, computer-adaptive Star Early Literacy is reliable, valid, and efficient, making it possible to screen an entire class in approximately 10 to 15 minutes, which allows educators to quickly interpret the data and prioritize student learning needs. Clear, concise reporting is immediately available to provide information on each child’s individual needs and identify areas of focus for intervention.

To continue to provide educators with resources to support early literacy initiatives, Renaissance is hosting a free live webinar, Kick-Start School Success with Early Literacy, on Wednesday, Oct. 4. During this webinar, presenter Pati Montgomery, award-winning education leader, literacy expert, and school innovator, will share insights on how today’s elementary educators can use early literacy best practices to boost reading achievement and give young learners the best start in school.

Montgomery is also a co-author of A Principal’s Primer for Raising Reading Achievement. For four years, she worked with MDE to provide Principal’s Primer trainings to Mississippi principals, assistant principals, and instructional coaches, with a focus on creating school structures and systems to increase reading achievement.

For additional information on Star Early Literacy, visit For more information on the MDE assessment results, visit

About Renaissance

Renaissance® is the leader in pre-K–12 learning analytics—enabling teachers, curriculum creators, and educators to drive phenomenal student growth. Renaissance’s solutions help educators analyze, customize, and plan personalized learning paths for students, allowing time for what matters—creating energizing learning experiences in the classroom. Founded by parents, upheld by educators, and enriched by data scientists, Renaissance knows learning is a continual journey—from year to year and for a lifetime. Our data-driven, personalized solutions are currently used in over one-third of U.S. schools and more than 60 countries around the world. For more information, visit

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