Eye on Education

More Than 300 Cleveland School Kids Repeating Third Grade

Reading Tutor US Dept. of Education FLICKR

U.S. Department of Education/FLICKR

Cleveland schools opened for their first day of the year with 324 kids required to repeat the third grade.  That’s more than 7 times the number of third graders held back in 2013.

The large number stems from students’ failure to meet the state’s new third grade reading guarantee that went into effect. just this year.

An additional 90 third graders whose reading scores were just below the passing threshold were conditionally passed onto fourth grade, with the presumption that they would likely pass the reading test on the next try in the fall.

Michelle Pierre Farid, Cleveland’s Chief Academic Officer, says nearly 700 third graders were at risk of being held back heading into summer.  She credits the district’s summer reading program with holding the number down.

“We did see a good amount of our kids who came to the summer program actually get promoted,” Pierre-Farid said.  “So this is a message to our families: Really put your child in the intensive reading program so we can get them to be on grade level.”

Many Cleveland students who did not pass Ohio’s reading assessment did pass an alternative test approved by the state as an acceptable measure of third grade reading.

Farid says the alternate exam – called the MAP – does not have a writing component, as the state test does.


  • Dr.Bel

    Seven percent is less than the population that has specific learning disabilities, like dyslexia. That district is lucky they didn’t have more. The policy of retaining students, because they can’t read at grade level by third grade is misguided unless teaching methods are changed for this population of students. Many students do not learn like the majority of students.
    Anyway, what is so magical about reading at third grade? What’s next, if students aren’t a particular height by third grade, are we going to stretch them? Let them develop as they will. I really do not understand society’s mindset that children have to know everything by the time they graduate when there is nothing for them after high school. There are no jobs, no money for college, and I have yet to find a career for a 17 year-old. After all, they have only a short time to be children, but a long long time to be an adult.

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