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.