Third grade reading results

Public schools across the state have received the unofficial scores from the spring Ohio Achievement Assessment Third Grade Reading tests, with schools in Washington County reporting from 83 to nearly 94 percent of students passing.

Students must score a 392 or above as a part of Ohio’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee that rolled out in 2013.

Testing was administered in fall and spring, and students still deemed “at risk” will be given the opportunity to test again in July to avoid being retained in third grade reading.

Many area schools have specific plans in place to accommodate students who did not meet the minimum requirement, but officials reported being generally satisfied with the results.

“We’re overall pretty pleased in our school district,” said Bill Wotring, principal of New Matamoras Elementary. “We’re getting ready to do five days of reading intervention for students who didn’t pass, and then we’ll be administering an alternative test in July.”

Frontier Local Schools had the lowest passing rate in the county at 83 percent, though the state results, which are still preliminary, do not account for students who took alternative tests.

“We did the Terra Nova test in May for some students that needed alternative testing, and we had several students pass that to count in place of the OAA,” Wotring said. “Now, we will only go into summer with two students who need to take it again.”

Alternative testing includes the Terra Nova 3, Iowa Evaluations and Northwest Evaluation Assessments, which can be given to students who have been determined to have unique learning needs.

Warren Local Schools had the highest OAA pass rate for spring at 93.8 percent, and district curriculum supervisor Angela Dunn said the administration is very pleased.

“This has put a spotlight on some great work that was already being done,” Dunn said. “All the work required to get these students ready for this test, our teachers were already doing.”

A total of 137 of 146 third graders at Warren were reported to have passed, and Dunn said the district has plans in place to provide summer intervention for those who still need it.

“They’ll have the opportunity to take the OAA and a reading alternative program coming up in July,” she said. “We think that intense intervention will make a big difference and prepare them for the fall.”

The state requires students who did not meet the minimum requirement to go through 90 minutes of intense reading instruction per day for the new school year.

The pathways for an “at risk” student can go several ways, as students who do not pass remedial summer tests must be retained in third grade reading, but can take fourth grade classes in other subjects if deemed ready by the school.

Students can also be promoted to fourth grade midway through the school year if the school reports student progress.

“What we have planned at all elementaries is to have one class for students that will receive third grade reading, but then fourth grade content in other subjects,” said Ruth Kunze, curriculum director for Marietta City Schools.

MCS third graders passed the spring OAA at a rate of 88.9 percent, and the district plans, like all other districts, to provide several more testing and learning opportunities to give those students the chance to be promoted.

“We anticipated that we would have some students that would need some intervention, so before we even got test results, we were proactive and sent out letters to parents of students that would possibly need some extra help in the summer,” Kunze said. “We have a three-week summer reading camp for these students that will run June 23 to July 11 that is a high interest, hands-on program.”

The camp is designed for both students that did not pass and students that did pass who still might be interested in extra instruction, as the state designed the test specifically as a way to make sure all third graders were at equal reading levels.

“With this being new, we didn’t know what to expect,” Kunze said. “But we planned for the worst, and it wasn’t as bad as we thought.”

Fort Frye, which had a passing rate of 92.8 percent, expressed satisfaction over the state results.

“There’s been a lot of changes this year, but we think this is a positive step forward to us,” said Superintendent Stephanie Starcher. “We estimated it to be about 90 to 91 percent, and we’re really excited because we think our math scores will be even higher than the reading.”

Starcher reiterated that because results had not been finalized and because results still did not account for students taking alternative tests, the district’s numbers should still end up being a bit higher.

“Kids have worked hard, parents have cooperated, and teachers have done a great job,” she said.

Like other districts, Fort Frye will also be offering summertime testing and intervention to get as many students through to fourth grade as possible.

For remaining districts, Belpre City Schools saw 89.6 percent of third graders pass the test, and Wolf Creek Local had a passing rate of 90.9 percent.

The state passing average for public schools was 88.5 percent, out of 605 public school districts reporting.