Bexley News

Reading guarantee

Majority of third-graders moving on

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While no school district in Franklin County had 100 percent of its third-graders meet the target score on the reading portion of the Ohio Achievement Assessments, the Bexley City School District fared better than most.

According to preliminary numbers released by the Ohio Department of Education, 98.8 percent of third-graders in Bexley met at least the minimum reading test score on the spring administration of the reading OAA. That means those students will move on to fourth grade, per the state's new Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.

Beginning this year, third-grade students who have not reached a passing grade on the test are required to be retained and will not move on to fourth grade under the state's new law.

The 50-question OAA reading test is a mix of multiple choice, short-answer and extended-answer questions.

According to the ODE, scores are scaled and have a possible range of 260 to 503. Students who failed to reach the passing score of 392 in the fall or spring are supposed to be held back. Eventually, any student who scores below 400, which is considered proficient, will be retained.

According to initial data released by ODE last week, 160 students took the spring OAA in Bexley, with 158 meeting the necessary 392 score.

Bexley is offering a summer intervention program for students who have multiple data suggesting they would benefit -- for example, those who scored basic or below basic on the OAA. The summer remediation program, called On the Mark, is being provided free of charge to those who qualify.

The district also will offer another chance to take the reading OAA the first full week in July. Students meeting the cut score on that test would avoid retention in August.

If a student does not pass the summer OAA, then he or she will be retained in third grade reading in the fall and will receive the required additional instructional time, as required by state law, district officials said.

"Additional time and targeted instruction would have happened even without the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee legislation," said Laura Lipsett, Bexley's executive director of school programs. "This is business as usual for Bexley."

Moving forward, the district has a few choices when it comes to assessing those who did not make the cut.

Alternative assessments in third-grade reading, according to Lipsett, are Measure Academic Progress, the nationally based TerraNova test, or another standardized test -- the Iowa Skills.

A student who has not passed any one of these assessments by fall will be assessed with other third-grade readers at the beginning of the new school year, using the state-approved diagnostic, and will continue on a reading improvement and monitoring plan that matches the student's specific needs, said Lipsett.

Nearly 90 percent of third-graders across the state earned a score of 392 on the reading portion of the spring OAA, up from 63.1 percent who passed during the first round of OAA reading testing in the fall. That equates to more than 110,000 third-graders who met ODE's benchmark, an increase of more than 25,000 students from the fall.

To be eligible for promotion to the fourth grade, students must earn the 392 promotion score. Those who qualify for exemptions include 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; and any student who has received intensive remediation for two years and was previously retained.

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