Licking County News

Southwest Licking begins achievement tests April 28

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Southwest Licking third-graders are ready for the Ohio Achievement Assessments, Assistant Superintendent Kasey Rathburn-Perkins told the school board last month.

"The ability to read is the foundation of learning," Rathburn-Perkins told the board March 20. "If they can't read by the third grade, they'll never be caught up to where they're supposed to be."

The testing is scheduled April 28 to May 9. According to the state's new Third-Grade Reading Guarantee, students must meet proficiency requirements in order to advance to fourth grade.

Rathburn-Perkins said that for the 2013-14 school year, a third-grader must score at least 392 on the test or demonstrate reading competency on an alternative test approved by the Ohio Department of Education.

She said Southwest Licking utilizes an approved alternative assessment, Measures of Academic Progress, a computerized adaptive test to track student growth in grades 2-9.

"Students who achieve a predetermined score on MAP will also be exempt from retention in the third grade," Rathburn-Perkins said.

In fact, if a student does not meet the assessment requirements, several things might happen, she said.

For instance, if the principal and teacher decide retaining the student in third grade is not in the student's best interest, that student might take fourth-grade classes in all subjects except reading. However, students must be placed in a third-grade reading classroom with a reading-accredited teacher and receive 90 minutes of reading instruction per day.

The student might be moved to the fourth-grade reading classroom mid-year if he or she achieves the necessary score on the achievement test or alternative assessment.

Rathburn-Perkins said all students in grades K-3 were assessed in the fall and any student deemed not on track was placed on a reading improvement and monitoring plan. These plans helped provide small-group and one-on-one ongoing reading interventions and after-school tutoring opportunities with an extensive focus on reading instruction.

"SWL will also offer a summer reading program for students identified in both second and third grade," Rathburn-Perkins said.

The summer program will also offer current third-graders an additional opportunity to take the achievement test or alternative assessment for promotion to fourth grade.

"Currently we have 83 percent of third-graders who scored 392 or higher on the fall OAA or met the required score from the MAP assessment which was administered three times this year," Rathburn-Perkins said.

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