Hilliard Northwest News

Third-grade reading test

Hilliard officials seek to go 'above and beyond' standards


Hilliard students who passed the third-grade reading assessments in the fall were not required to retake the test in the spring, but district officials consider it a best practice for both students and teachers.

"We always go above and beyond what the state requires," said Jennifer Adams, director of elementary curriculum for Hilliard City Schools.

It is a policy the Ohio Department of Education endorses.

"While it is not required for students (who passed in the fall), we want and encourage districts to have students take the test (twice)," said John Charlton, associate director of media relations for the ODE.

Adams said the Ohio Achievement Assessments in third-grade reading are one of many barometers the district uses to gauge student achievement and progress.

"It's one data point for us, but more important is the discussions we have with our colleagues, the students and their parents and designing our classroom instruction appropriately," Adams said.

According to initial data last week from the ODE, 91.3 percent of third-grade students in the Hilliard district achieved a score of 392 or higher on either the fall or spring reading achievement test, or both, Charlton said.

The average among central Ohio public schools for the fall and spring testing was about 87 percent, according to the ODE.

The 50-question reading assessment 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.

The ODE's goal is to eventually increase the promotion score from 392 to 400 to equal the current proficiency score of 400, Charlton said.

The State Board of Education plans incremental raises in the promotion-score standard.

"The board will determine if and by how much the promotion score will be raised each year," Charlton said.

A committee of the State Board of Education has suggested raising the promotion score by two points to 394 for the upcoming school year but the board has yet to consider the proposal, Charlton said.

Stacie Raterman, a spokeswoman for Hilliard City Schools, said district officials used data based on the number of students who achieved a score of least of 392 on either the fall or spring test.

Considering only the fall reading assessment, Charlton said, 63.5 percent of the 1,152 test-takers in Hilliard scored at or above 400, the current proficiency.

No individual numbers for proficiency on the spring test were calculated; rather, they were combined with results from the fall round of testing, Charlton said. He said those figures were based on the promotion score of 392.

In Hilliard, 1,066 of 1,167 third-grade students scored 392 or above in either the fall or the spring, or both, Charlton said. The ODE accounted for students who took the test each time and each test-taker and result was counted once, he said.

Raterman said 1,154 third-grade students took the reading assessment in the fall, two greater than the number the ODE reported. She said at least 733 students achieved a score of 392 or higher to be promoted to the fourth grade.

In the spring, 1,163 students took the test and 1,017 achieved a score of 392 or greater, Raterman said.

Combining the number of Hilliard students who achieved a score of at least 392 in the fall, spring or both, and adding the 99 students who are exempt from the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee, the law that is guiding the implementation of the reading tests, 1,159 of 1,168 Hilliard third-grade test-takers met the standard for promotion, according to Hilliard officials.

However, the nine students in danger of being held back will have an opportunity to test again this summer and will be allowed to advance to the fourth grade while taking remedial classes to achieve the ODE benchmark, Adams said.

The 99 students who are exempt include those with individualized education plans, English Language learners and those who were previously retained, district officials said.

The number of third-grade students who achieved a score of 392 or higher, not including exempted students, was 1,060, according to district officials.

The district's figure of 1,060 is six fewer than the ODE reported. No reason for the discrepancy has been given.

Raterman said Hilliard's figure of 1,168 test-takers was one greater than the ODE's calculations because one second-grader took the test, Raterman said.

The number of Hilliard students who passed the reading assessment in the spring was significantly higher than the fall passage rate, but that is not unusual, Adams said.

"The test is designed to show where a student's reading level should be at the end of third grade so lower scores in the fall and higher scores in the spring are expected," Adams said.