Johnstown Independent

Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee

Johnstown, Northridge third-graders score well

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All Johnstown and Northridge third-graders are expected to advance to the fourth grade, as a result of their performance on Ohio's standardized reading test or because they met exemption requirements.

This marked the first year of what's known as Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee, a program to identify students from kindergarten through third grade who are behind in reading.

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

Except for those with special circumstances, third-graders must meet a minimum score on the state reading test to move on to the fourth grade.

In 2013-2014, the minimum score for advancement is 392. This score must be attained either in the fall or spring administration of the state reading test. That target score will eventually be raised to 400.

At Johnstown-Monroe, 96 percent or 121 of 126 students did well enough on the spring reading test to move on to the fourth grade.

Oregon Elementary School Principal Marcie Wilson said 112 of those 126 students scored above 400. Although scores between 393-399 are not considered proficient (passing), the state has determined that 392 is the score that must be attained to avoid retention, Wilson said.

Out of 126 Johnstown students taking the spring reading test, 121 scored 392 or above.

"Any students that did not reach the 392 are either exempt by law or have been given an opportunity to take an alternative assessment," Wilson said.

"We are hopeful that there will be no retentions once the results of the alternative assessment are in."

She said Oregon is looking at a passing rate of about 89 percent for those that will count in final numbers in reading.

"Students showed very high scores in reading," Wilson added.

"Over 75 percent of the students scored in the accelerated or advanced range, causing our performance index to reach 108.3 in reading. That is very exciting."

Wilson said she's very proud of how well third-graders performed in both math and reading.

"Everyone worked together as a team to be sure that students were successful in meeting the requirements of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, but more importantly with growing great readers and thinkers," she said.

"The staff does such a great job with providing instruction to meet the needs of all students. Parents really got on board with helping the children this year, too, in light of the new mandate."

Northridge Primary School Principal Jamie Johnson said Northridge Local Schools don't have any students who will be retained in third grade because of Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Ninety-six percent or 98 of 102 of Northridge's third-graders passed the reading test to move on to the fourth grade.

Johnson said all Northridge third-graders either passed the Ohio Achievement Assessment, met the exemption requirements for special education, or scored well enough on the Measurement of Academic Progress spring test to meet the requirements set forth by the state.

"I am very pleased with how well our students have done," Johnson said.

"The staff at Northridge is committed to making sure all of our students are reaching their fullest academic potential.

"I believe our scores show that we are headed in the right direction," Johnson said.

State officials have said the purpose of Ohio's Third Grade Guarantee is to ensure every struggling reader gets the support he or she needs to be able to learn and achieve.

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

In grades K-3, schools are to evaluate all children to determine if they are reading as well as they should be.

If a child appeared to be falling behind in reading, the school immediately started a reading improvement plan.

The plan addresses each student's unique reading problems, and schools monitor the plan to make sure the student's reading improved.

Schools work closely with parents to help create a remedy and for parents to be able to support the plan.

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