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Most Ohio Students Pass State's Third-Grade Reading Guarantee

PHOTO: Nearly 90 percent of Ohio third-graders this year managed to master the reading skills they need to be promoted to the fourth grade. Photo credit: Rich Mullins/morguefile.
PHOTO: Nearly 90 percent of Ohio third-graders this year managed to master the reading skills they need to be promoted to the fourth grade. Photo credit: Rich Mullins/morguefile.
June 18, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The majority of students - more than 110,000 - passed Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee this year, state leaders say.

The preliminary reading scores on the Ohio Achievement Test indicate that 88 percent of third-graders earned scores high enough to be promoted to fourth grade, up from 63 percent who passed the test in the fall.

John Charlton, associate director of communications for the Ohio Department of Education, said Ohioans can be pleased with the efforts of local districts.

"A lot of districts have implemented programs, interventions, after-school programs, have worked with outside organizations, to make sure that students that they have identified early as struggling students are getting the help they need to be successful readers," he said.

Schools can give students who did not pass two more opportunities to earn a high enough score, either by taking the reading test this summer or using an approved alternative assessment administered by the district. Lawmakers made the reading guarantee law in 2012 to prevent students from moving ahead without having the skills necessary for success in school.

Some parents and others have voiced concerns over the impact of retention, or holding a child back a grade, but Charlton said the reading standard is an intervention policy. As early as kindergarten, he said, districts try to identify students who struggle with reading, adding interventions and reading-improvement plans so a child is on track by the end of third grade.

"In kindergarten through third grade, you're learning to read; from fourth grade on, you're reading to learn," Charlton said. "If you're on grade level or above at the end of third grade, then you can control your own destiny as you move forward - you can control your educational destiny, and you can control your career beyond that, as well."

Some students are exempt from being kept back a grade, including those for whom English is a second language, some special-education students and any student who has intensive remediation for two years and was previously retained in kindergarten through third grade.

Results by district are online at education.ohio.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH