About 12 percent of Ohio’s third graders still can’t read well enough for fourth grade
By Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer
on June 17, 2014 at 11:21 AM, updated June 18, 2014 at 7:26 AM
CLEVELAND, Ohio – About 12 percent of third graders in Ohio can’t read well enough to qualify to move on to fourth grade under the state’s Third grade Reading Guarantee.
Previous test results this school year have sounded warnings about how many children are in danger of being held back in third grade if their reading does not improve.
The latests results released this morning by the Ohio Department of Education are not final, but far more serious: These include how students did on the spring Ohio Achievement Assessments, the state’s main exams.
In Cleveland, which has some of the worst-scoring readers in the state, only 63 percent of third graders scored well enough to go to fourth grade. Warrensville Heights and East Cleveland students also face large numbers of retention in third grade, with 61 and 68 percent of third graders earning passing scores.
In suburbs like Bay Village and Beachwood, where 98 percent of third graders earned passing scores, few are in danger of repeating third grade.
See how many students in your district have passed HERE.
The ODE stressed that these numbers don’t show how many students will necessarily be held back, since there are other tests that students can take to pass the state’s minimum reading requirements for fourth grade. Many districts, including Cleveland, have struggling readers in summer reading programs in hopes of helping them pass an additional round of state tests in July.
Cleveland’s results came back almost exactly as the district had predicted. The district had estimated in March that about 1,000 students would need extra help this summer to pass the test. The new OAA results show that 999 of its 2,701 third graders did not meet the target.
Cleveland Chief Academic Officer Michelle Pierre-Farid said this morning she does not know how many of those 999 have since passed other tests the state allows to show that students can meet reading standards. The district is comparing test results and should know soon, she said.
The state legislature and Gov. John Kasich made the guarantee law in 2012to prevent students from moving ahead in school without a key skill to succeed. Supporters of the guarantee regularly cited studies showing that students who cannot read by that age drop out at much higher rates than those that can.
As many educators put it, through third grade students learn to read. After that, they need to read to learn.
Others debate the value of retaining students and what effects that has on students over time, as well as the extra costs to districts of providing extra tutoring and of educating students for extra years.
“These preliminary results show that most Ohio students have mastered the reading skills they need to be successful, but more needs to be done,” State Superintendent Richard Ross said in an ODE press release on the results. “We need to continue and in some cases increase our efforts to ensure every boy and girl in Ohio will have the skills necessary to be lifelong learners.”
Here are a few more details on the Guarantee, from an ODE statement. Some categories students will not be held back. These are:
· Limited English proficient students who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for less than three full school years and have had less than three years of instruction in an English as a Second Language program;
· Special education students whose IEPs specifically exempt them from retention;
· Any student who has received intensive remediation for two years and was previously retained in Kindergarten through the third grade.
ODE also noted:
If the student remains in the third grade, the school must provide a high-performing reading teacher and 90 minutes of reading instruction each school day. A student can still take fourth-grade classes in all other subjects, if the student is ready. Schools can move students to the fourth grade in the middle of the year if the student’s reading improves.