Eye on Education

UPDATED: State Board of Ed Considers Gentle Cut Score for Third Grade Reading Guarantee

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

A third grader at Theodore Roosevelt Community School in Cincinnati practices his reading.

Third graders may not have to quake at the sight of a book next year after all.

When the third-grade reading guarantee was first proposed by Gov. John Kasich last spring, the expectation was that third graders would be held back unless their test scores showed they were reading at what is considered a “proficient” level.

But many educators and teachers worry that the standard is too high, and will create a backlog of students stuck in third grade.

It’s up to the State Board of Education to set what’s called the “cut” level. That determines which third graders are held back, and which get to move on to fourth grade.

“The focus of the legislation even as it was written is a third-grade reading guarantee, so it’s focused on providing support to guarantee that they’re reading,” says Sasheen Phillips with the Ohio Department of Education.

She emphasizes that the focus is “not on retention.”

The way it is now, scoring a 400 on the Ohio Achievement Assessment’s English section means you’re “proficient” at reading, 385 means you’re reading at a “basic” level, and anything under that means you’re reading ability is “limited.”

In the resolution that will be taken up by the state board, the cut score for the 2012-2013 year would be a 390. Not quite proficient, but better than basic.

That cut score will be raised to 392 next year, and will continue to rise over the years until it finally reaches that original goal.

Update: On Tuesday, September 11, the Board did vote to approve the cut scores of 390 for 2012-2013 and 392 for 2013-2014.


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