Mississippi Readiness Policies

Overview

Mississippi
High School and Postsecondary Alignment

SREB’s Challenge to Lead 2020 goals call for states to align middle grades and high school policies with college-readiness standards, to recognize multiple paths to graduation and to provide students with diverse postsecondary options and resources. The following tabs summarize how Mississippi aligns its policies to promote smooth transitions for students through high school and beyond.  

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Mississippi
College and Career Planning in K-12

The Mississippi Department of Education requires students to develop Individual Student Success Plans by the end of the eighth grade. Students update their plans with their counselors annually. The plans guide course selection and career exploration. Students update their plans with their counselors annually. The state department created the Career Development Pacing Guide for counselors and school personnel to deliver college- and career-planning activities.

With guidance from their counselor and parents, students must select one career cluster and identify at least one high school diploma endorsement prior to entering the ninth grade.

The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the Mississippi Department of Education, and the Mississippi Community College Board administer a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program to help low-income students prepare for college. It provides enrichment, recruitment and financial aid; family and community engagement, tutoring and mentoring; professional development for teachers, counselors and principals; and technology resources. More information is available at www.msfinancialaid.org.

Mississippi also offers online resources at riseupms.com, a statewide web portal designed to help students and their families plan for college.

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Mississippi
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2018 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a high school diploma.

Subject

Credits

Courses

Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English I

English II

Two other credits

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Math

4

3 Credits:

Algebra I and two other credits

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Science

3

3 Credits:

Biology and two other credits

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Social Studies

3 1/2

World History

U.S. History

1/2 U.S. Government

1/2 Economics

1/2 Mississippi Studies

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Health

1/2

 

 

Physical Education

1/2

   

Art

1

   

College and Career Readiness

1

Must occur in the student’s junior or senior year, or in the studentscompletion of a 4-year sequence.

Technology or Computer Science

1

 

Electives

5 1/2

 
Total Credits 24  

Diploma Endorsements

Students pursuing a Traditional High School Diploma should identify an endorsement before entering the ninth grade from these three options: Career and Technical, Academic, or Distinguished Academic. Endorsement requirements can only be changed with parental permission. The additional requirements for each endorsement are as follows:

Career and Technical Endorsement

  • Complete a total of 26 credits and earn an overall GPA of 2.5.
  • Earn Silver level on ACT WorkKeys.
  • Complete a four-credit sequential CTE program of study.
  • Successfully complete one of the following:
    • One CTE dual credit or earn articulated credit in the high school CTE course;
    • Work-Based Learning experience or Career Pathway Experience; or
    • Earn a State Board of Education-approved national credential.

Academic Endorsement

  • Complete a total of 26 credits and earn an overall GPA of 2.5.
  • Courses must meet the Mississippi IHL college preparatory curriculum.
  • Earn ACT sub scores of 17 English and 19 Math or the SAT equivalency sub score.
  • Successfully complete one of the following:
    • One AP course with a C or higher and take the corresponding AP exam;
    • One IB course with a C or higher and take the appropriate IB exam; or
    • One dual credit course with a C or higher.

Distinguished Academic Endorsement

  • Complete a total of 28 credits and earn an overall GPA of 3.0.
  • Courses must meet the Mississippi IHL college preparatory curriculum.
  • Earn ACT sub scores of 18 English and 22 Math or the SAT equivalency sub score.
  • Successfully complete one of the following:
    • One AP course with a B or higher and take the corresponding AP exam;
    • One IB course with a B or higher and take the appropriate IB exam; or
    • One dual credit course with a B or higher.

Assessment Requirements

Mississippi administers the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program and Subject Area Testing Program, Second Edition and the ACT to high school students in their junior year. MAAP comprises Algebra I and English II exams while SATP2 comprises Biology I and U.S. History assessments. Subject area tests scores will constitute 25 % of a student’s final grade. Students may meet the assessment requirements for graduating with a standard diploma in one of three ways:

  • Passing all four subject area tests
  • Using a concordance table by combining grades and scale score values
  • Using a combination score of 646 with results from all four subject area tests

Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, seniors who have failed an end-of-course SATP test may use the test score with their overall course grade to apply for graduation. Students will qualify for this option if their course grade and test score, when evaluated together, demonstrate adequate mastery of course content. State Board Policy 3804 allows students to satisfy assessment requirements through alternative means, such as qualifying ACT sub-scores, earned college credit, or an earned industry certification.

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Mississippi
Accelerated Learning Options in High School

Career and Technical Education

The Pathways to Success initiative has developed career pathway documents that align with the 16 fields contained in the National Clusters Framework. Each one-page fact sheet contains course recommendations for core and elective credits, including career-technical courses for students pursuing the career and technical education endorsement on their high school diploma. To earn the CTE endorsement, students must earn a 2.5 GPA over 26 credits, earn Silver level on ACT WorkKeys, and complete a dual credit or articulated CTE course.

Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit

Dual Enrollment Students are dually enrolled in high school and in a community/junior college or institute of higher education. These students may earn up to one semester’s worth of college credit (15 hours for a community/junior college or 12 hours for a university). These are different from Dual Credit Students who are still enrolled both at the secondary and postsecondary level, but who also earn dual credit (credit both at the high school- and college-levels) for courses. Any course that is required for subject area testing as a requirement of graduation is not eligible for dual credit. Students may qualify for either the Dual Enrollment or Dual Credit programs based on the following:

  • minimum GPA; and
  • written approval/recommendation from counselor or principal; and
  • meet entrance requirements set by postsecondary institution; and
  • have completed 14 core high school units or have a minimum ACT composite score of 30 (or SAT equivalent).

Admission and placement testing requirements, as well as tuition and fees, vary locally and by institution. Tuition and costs for university-level courses must be paid from grants, foundation, or other private sources.

 Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate

Advanced Placement offerings vary by school and are required to be taught by College Board-certified AP teachers. Students who score at a 3, 4 or 5 level on an Advanced Placement exam may be able to earn college credit for the corresponding high school course. Credit transfer policies vary by institution. Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the Maryland Department of Education will provide funding directly to local school districts to help cover testing fees for low-income students.

Early College High Schools

Mississippi currently has six early college high schools, the first of which opened in 2015. Most of these early colleges are housed on college campuses and offer students the opportunity to earn college credit and receive an associate degree or career credential while pursuing high school diplomas. Students attending early colleges do not pay college tuition or textbook costs.

Early High School Graduation

The Mississippi Early Exit Diploma is available to students who are college-ready, will not need remediation courses, have met the 17.5 specific credit minimum, and have met all core content requirements, including benchmarks on EOC and ACT or IHL exams. Students who meet the requirements of the Mississippi Early Exit Diploma may continue to take Advanced Placement or dual credit courses, enroll full-time in a career-technical education program, or graduate high school early and enroll in a local community college.

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Mississippi
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Trustees for the Institutions of Higher Learning sets the minimum admissions requirements for public universities. All applicants must complete the Required College-Preparatory Curriculum to receive full admission. The board has also created a more rigorous, recommended preparatory curriculum. Students may substitute Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses for specific subject-area requirements.

The board requires institutions to grant students full admission if they complete the College Preparatory Curriculum and meet one of the following qualifications: 1) 3.2 grade-point average; 2) 2.5 GPA or Top 50% Class Rank and ACT composite of 16 or higher; 3) a minimum 2.0  GPA and an ACT Composite of 18 or higher. Board policy allows students to submit equivalent SAT scores to meet institutional admissions requirements.

Universities may admit students who do not meet full admissions requirements through enrollment in the Summer Development Program. Successful completion of the program entitles students to continue enrollment in the fall semester. Institutions also may enroll students in Yearlong Academic Support Programs. Some credits earned through the yearlong program do not count toward graduation.

Institute of Higher Learning College-Preparatory Curriculum

Subject

 Required Units

Recommended Units

Course Requirements

English

4

4

Must require substantial communication skills

Math

3

4

Algebra I or equivalent

Other units higher than Algebra I

Science

3

4

Biology I or its equivalent

Other units higher than Biology I

Social Studies

3

4

American & World History (1 unit each)

American Government (1/2 unit)

Economics or Geography (1/2 unit)

Recommended units include Introduction to World Geography and Mississippi Studies (or a state/local government course in any other state)

Arts

1

1

Units in visual and performing arts

Advanced Electives

2

2

Option 1: Foreign Language I and Foreign Language II

Option 2: Foreign Language I and Advanced World Geography

Option 3: Any combination of English, Mathematics higher than Algebra I, Science higher than Biology I, Advanced Elective category, any AP course, any IB course

Technology 

.5

.5

A course that emphasizes the use of technology as a productivity tool

Total 16.5 19.5  
*Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses can be substituted for each requirement. A course may not be used to satisfy more than one requirement.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Academic and technical students must meet one of the following Mississippi Community College Board admissions criteria to enroll at an institution:

  • An earned high school diploma or approved equivalency certificate
  • The completion of at least one unit less than the minimum acceptable high school units as prescribed by law (20 credits)
  • Mississippi Occupational Diploma or state-approved Career Certificate
  • Official transcript from accredited postsecondary institution

Two-year institutions may enroll students in career programs based upon qualifying scores on a federal assessment that demonstrates their ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction.

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Mississippi
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Four-Year Institutions

Students who do not meet the requirements for unconditional admission may be admitted but must participate in an on-campus placement process at the institution.

Students who score below 16 on the ACT English, reading, or math subtest must take intermediate courses. The board allows institutions to require students with an ACT sub-score between 17 and 19 to enroll in intermediate courses. However, students are exempt from the intermediate course requirement if they completed an SREB Math Ready and/or Literacy Ready courses with a grade of 80 or higher.

Students required to take two or more intermediate courses must enroll in the Summer Development Program. Successful completion of the summer program entitles students to continue their enrollment at the university.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Institutions have the right to set their own placement thresholds for entry into college-level English and math courses. However, the Mississippi Community College Board convenes a group of 14 of the 15 community colleges’ chief academic officers who have agreed to use an ACT English score of 17 or higher for placement in English Composition and an ACT math score of 19 or higher for placement in College Algebra.

Entering freshmen enrolled at a public postsecondary institution who have an ACT math, reading or English subtest score of 16 or less are required to take Intermediate Algebra or Intermediate English during their first semester of college. Institutions may also require that students who score between 17 and 19 take the intermediate course(s).

However, students are exempt from the intermediate course requirement if they completed an SREB Math Ready and/or Literacy Ready courses with a grade of 80 or higher. Students taking two or more intermediate courses must enroll in the year-long Academic Support Program or equivalent courses.

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Mississippi
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds three merit-based grant programs: the Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant, Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant and the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP). 

Students may qualify for the Resident Tuition Assistance Grant with a minimum high school grade-point average of 2.5 and ACT Composite score of 15 or higher (810 SAT). The maximum award is $500 for freshmen and sophomores and $1,000 for juniors and seniors.

National Merit Finalist and Semifinalists may qualify for the Eminent Scholars Grant with a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 and ACT Composite score of 29 or higher (1350 SAT). The maximum award is $2,500 per academic year.

Students may qualify for the HELP Grant if they demonstrate financial need, graduate with a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, and earn a minimum ACT Composite score of 20 (1020 SAT). The standard award covers tuition and fees at public institutions. Students who attend nonpublic institutions will receive an amount equal to that of the nearest comparable public institution.

All three grant programs require the completion of 15 credits per semester and the maintenance of initial GPA requirements. Since fall 2017, students may receive only one state grant. The Office of Student Financial Aid reviews continuing eligibility every semester.

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Mississippi
Postsecondary Feedback to High Schools

Mississippi Lifetracks releases annual state- level data and trends statewide and by subgroup on the following information:

  • Postsecondary enrollment rates
  • Number and rate of graduates taking remedial courses
  • Graduates attaining 24 credit hours within two years of enrollment
  • Freshman retention rates
  • Graduation rates of first-time, full-time college-enrolled public high school graduates