It’s almost time for the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which for some parents could mean the difference between their child going to fourth grade or not.
The state initiative, which began in 2013, is a diagnostic tool to assess students’ risks in reading skills during a significant point in their school careers.
Currently, 25 states and the District of Columbia use a third grade reading assessment. Of those, nine states do not have the test attached to retention.
Ohio school districts evaluate students’ reading skills beginning in kindergarten. All third-graders take the same test on a computer-based system in fall (Oct. 22-Nov. 2), spring and summer, if needed.
According to 2018 Ohio School Report Card data, of the 125,485 Ohio students enrolled, 95 percent met the standard (a 1.1 percent increase from the previous year’s data), 6.7 percent were exempt from the test, and 5 percent did not meet the promotion threshold.
This year, the state is changing the score threshold from 672 to 677 or the reading subscore alternative promotion score for the grade 3 English language arts test from 44 to 45.
This can be stressful news, especially if you have a child who struggles in reading. You are not alone. I was one of those parents last year and thankfully, with the help of Tier 2 interventions, my son’s teacher (shout-out to Mrs. Johns!), summer tutoring and doing nightly reading, he met the standard by 6 points.
However, not all kids are so lucky.
The Ohio Department of Education has some test tools for parents and for students in kindergarten through third grade on its website, education.ohio.gov.
For schools struggling with third grade retention, state-funded resources are needed to help students gain these critical reading skills.
If everyone works together, no students will be left behind.