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Thousands of Mississippi third graders might have to repeat grade

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JACKSON, Miss. -- Relatives of students told WREG they were shocked to hear so many Mississippi third graders could possibly have to repeat a grade, based on the state's mandatory reading test.

Thursday, the Mississippi Board of Education determined what score on the state test should be a passing grade.

The score meant about 6,000 Mississippi third graders might not be able to move on to fourth grade.

That was about 15% of the 38,000 third graders in the state.

WREG was told the students who failed have two more chances to pass.

They could try again at the end of this month and over the summer.

"That's too many kids being left behind. Way too many," said Donna Griffin.

Her grandson was a third grader in Tate County Schools.

She told usĀ  he reads well, but this policy was new for everyone.

This was the first year the requirement was in effect.

WREG asked Desoto County Schools and each of its School Board members to talk about the score cut-off.

The district said without numbers on how its students did, it would not speak.

"I just don't think that standardized testing is necessarily the answer, because of the anxiety that's caused in these children. Third graders are eight years old," said concerned parent Brandie Correro.

Correro said she understood not passing those children who didn't meet reading standards, but she said she did not feel a standardized test was the best measure of students' ability.

Correro pulled her daughter out of Desoto County Schools because of the high emphasis placed on testing.

Lawmakers said holding back the children who didn't meet reading standards would help them get the attention they need.

Desoto County Schools said it expected to receive the district's results from the state tomorrow afternoon.

The district said it would interview with WREG at that point.

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