Pickerington third-graders performed well on a state reading assessment examination given last fall and are expected to show further gains when tested again this spring, according to the district's teaching and learning director.
Of the 735 Pickerington Local School District third-graders who took the Ohio Achievement Assessment test for reading last October, 14.7 percent scored in the "limited" proficiency range, a report from the Ohio Department of Education showed Dec. 13.
Under state standards, students must earn a score of 392 to achieve the "third-grade reading guarantee."
Those in the limited range scored at 384 or below and risk being retained in the third grade if they don't bring scores up when the test is administered this spring or following remedial instruction and an exam to be offered during the summer.
However, Sharon Caccimelio, Pickerington's director of teaching and learning, noted 29.4 percent of district third-graders scored in the "advanced" range (432 to 507), 21.2 percent were deemed "accelerated" (415 to 431) and 18.4 percent were "proficient" (400 to 415).
She also said all of the students had only been in third grade about 90 days before they were tested, and she believes the district will be able to provide intervention instruction throughout this school year to help students improve their reading skills and test scores.
"We wouldn't expect kids to pass the end-of-the-year (standard) when they've only been in third grade a month and a half," Caccimelio said. "I feel incredibly good about what we're doing."
In addition to limited students, the ODE considers students who scored in the 385 to 399 range to have "basic" reading skills.
The report issued Friday, Dec. 13, noted 16.3 percent of Pickerington's third-graders scored in that range, but it didn't specify how many scored high enough to reach the reading guarantee.
In all, 69 percent of third-graders scored at "proficient or above," according to the ODE.
"We don't get the information by student," said John Charlton, ODE spokesman.
"It might be worth noting that according to previous years, 60 percent who score in the basic level after the fall administration end up proficient after the spring administration of the OAA."
Caccimelio said the district has identified which students were considered to have basic or limited reading skills and is providing additional instruction to them to help improve competency.
In addition to the OAA exam, she said the district each March conducts diagnostic reading assessments of students to further gauge their knowledge and learning growth.
"Those kids that are behind, we monitor their progress," she said. "We make sure they receive intervention in addition to the teaching they're receiving in the classroom.
"We feel confident that our instructional practices will prove beneficial to all students and that those students who need intervention or enrichment will receive the instruction that they need, as well."
Caccimelio said the district doesn't only focus on bringing students up to speed, however.
She noted ODE standards require districts to provide a full year of learning growth for all students, regardless of their levels of proficiency.
"Twenty-nine percent of kids scored in the highest range," she said. "Those kids present a different challenge because we also have to grow those kids."