This article was copied and pasted from the Dayton Daily News by an online subscriber.
One of every eight Ohio third-graders has yet to pass the state reading test, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Education. Under Ohio’s new Third-Grade Reading Guarantee, those 16,068 students are at risk of repeating third grade unless they qualify for a waiver, or pass the state reading test or an approved alternative test this summer.
“These preliminary results show that most Ohio students have mastered the reading skills they need to be successful, but more needs to be done,” said State Superintendent Richard Ross. “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.”
Centerville City Schools saw 98.2 percent of its third-graders pass the test — the highest percentage for any large school district in the state. Three small districts north of Dayton — Fort Loramie, Botkins and Russia — had all of their students pass.
3rd-grade reading test results “I think it points to the awesome job our classroom teachers and principals did working together to meet the needs of our students,” Centerville Superintendent Tom Henderson said. “And it’s not just third grade. It’s a testament to the work done at the kindergarten and primary levels, where we have a strong literacy program.”
State data showed Dayton Public Schools with 65.2 percent of its third-graders passing the test, which would be the sixth-worst of the 608 school districts in ODE’s report — ahead of Cleveland, but behind Ohio’s other large urban districts.
Sheila Burton, executive director of accountability for DPS, said the district received data from ODE that shows 71 percent passing. She said the discrepancy is based on the high number of students who move in and out of Dayton Public Schools during each year, and which ones are assigned to DPS for data purposes.
ODE confirmed that the percentages it released Tuesday do not use the same student-tracking principles that are applied to most school accountability reports.
“We were expecting to be higher on our reading guarantee number,” Dayton Superintendent Lori Ward said. “Our mission is to make sure that our third-graders can read. So we invited all of our third-graders who didn’t pass the OAA to summer school.”
Charter schools in Montgomery County totaled a 73.8 percent passage rate on the third-grade reading test, an average that reflected both highs and extreme lows. DECA Prep notched a 93.2 percent passage rate, while 91.1 percent of Pathway School of Discovery students passed. But only 44.4 percent of students at Dayton Leadership Academy’s Dayton View Campus passed the reading test, just behind the 48.7 percent of Horizon Science Academy Dayton.
What happens next?
Three categories of students are exempt from repeating third grade regardless of their reading test scores —“limited English proficient” students who have had less than three years in an English as a Second Language program; special education students on certain Individualized Education Programs; and students who were retained in a previous grade.
Henderson said those waived students account for more than half of the 10 Centerville students who didn’t pass the third-grade reading test. ODE listed 351 Dayton students as having failed the test, but Burton said only 232 will need to be retested in order to move on to fourth grade.
ODE spokesman John Charlton said schools can give third-graders one more crack at the OAA exam in reading during the week of July 7. In addition, students can also take one of the alternative tests — the Iowa Assessment, Terra Nova 3, or the Measurement of Academic Progress — at any time during the summer.
Henderson said Centerville is sending out letters this week to all parents of third-graders, letting them know whether they passed the test. Students who failed or narrowly passed are being invited to a three-week summer intervention program to boost their reading skills.
Ward said 212 of the 232 third-graders that DPS invited to summer school have attended.
“We don’t really take a break in the summer,” she said.
Still, some students will not pass the reading exam this summer. Under Ohio law, those students can still take fourth-grade classes in all other subjects next fall if they are ready, but they are required to get 90 minutes of reading instruction each school day, and work with a “high-performing reading teacher.”
If the student’s reading improves, he can be tested and moved fully into the fourth grade in the middle of the year. Burton said DPS plans to offer more than 90 minutes of reading to those students.
Ward said scheduling students and teachers will be a challenge, because summer test results that determine what grade a student is in aren’t expected until Friday, Aug. 15. DPS’ first day of school is Monday, Aug. 18.