Rocky Fork Enterprise

Third-grade reading

'Intense intervention' planned for those who fail fall test

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Educators at Gahanna-Jefferson schools plan to adjust instruction to help 120 third-graders who didn't pass the Third Grade Reading Assessment in the fall.

The Ohio Department of Education is supposed to release official data Friday, Dec. 13.

Scott Schmidt, the district's executive director of elementary education, said the October administration of the Third Grade Reading Assessment is the first time third-graders have taken a high-stakes standardized test.

Of the 532 third-graders who took the test, 120 scored below the passing score of 392. After omitting the number of students on an individualized education program and those with limited English proficiency, 76 students (14 percent) still need to pass the test.

In the spring, 506 students took the test, and only 24 (4.75 percent) failed.

"There is a higher percentage of students who struggled in the fall because the third-grade reading test is an end-of-the-year assessment," Schmidt said. "We, of course, would have liked to see a higher success rate in the fall. We will work to determine the best course of action for each student. Our goal is that 100 percent of third-graders will pass the reading OAA (Ohio Achievement Assessment) in the spring."

He said the district takes multiple steps to ensure that all students are successful.

"Initial test results are analyzed, and we use this information to inform and adjust our instruction," Schmidt said. "It is important to remember the third-grade test is an end-of-grade-level test. We still have six months of quality instruction that will be provided to all students."

Schmidt said G-J would progress-monitor students' growth using a variety of assessments.

"Intense intervention is provided by our reading teachers to those students who qualify, in addition to quality classroom instruction," he said. "We will also be offering after-school tutoring sessions as an additional means of support and intervention."

Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a program to identify students who are behind in reading, from kindergarten through third grade.

School districts are required to provide help and support to make sure students are on track for reading success by the end of third grade.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, intervention is required for any student in grades K-3 who is not on track after the fall reading test. However, only third-grade students face retention based on OAA reading scores.

If a student is retained in the third grade, two new intervention components are required. Retained students must have at least 90 minutes of reading instruction daily. Retained students also must be given an opportunity to receive intervention services from outside providers.

Schmidt said high-stakes testing is one measure G-J uses to gather data about students and track progress.

"It is important to remember that tests, like the OAA, are just snapshots of a particular day," he said. "In addition to students' abilities, there are many other factors that can affect performance. We strive to learn the needs of each of our students and provide instruction that will help each of them become successful."

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