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Columbus -- Close to 90 percent of third-graders have earned high enough scores on school reading assessments to advance to the fourth grade, according to statistics released by state education officials June 17.
A total of 105,681 public school students out of 119,393 total statewide and 5,878 charter students out of 8,234 met the new third grade reading guarantee, a total of 88.5 percent and 71.4 percent, respectively.
That's up from about 63 percent for all public and charter school students who took the reading tests in the fall.
Twenty districts reported all of their students met the testing requirement, including Ayersville Local in Defiance County, Stryker Local and Edgerton Local in Williams County, Ottoville Local and Kalida Local in Putnam County, Antwerp Local in Paulding County, Holgate Local in Henry County and Lordstown Local and Bloomfield-Mespo Local in Trumbull County.
The Ohio Department of Education reported 157 out of 164 Tallmadge students, or 95. 7 percent, met the third grade reading guarantee standard. The ODE number is based on the Ohio Achievement Assessment reading test administered to Tallmadge students in October 2013 and in May. The ODE allows school districts to additionally administer an alternative test to provide students another opportunity to meet the third grade reading guarantee.
"These preliminary results show that most Ohio students have mastered the reading skills they need to be successful, but more needs to be done," state Superintendent Richard Ross said in a released statement. "We need to continue and in some cases increase our efforts to ensure every boy and girl in Ohio will have the skills necessary to be lifelong learners."
A new state law requires third graders who are not reading at grade level to be held back. Exceptions are made for students with learning disabilities and other issues.
Students have several opportunities to pass a test to pinpoint their reading levels. Two assessments are given during the regular school year, with another offered to affected students during the summer. Those who don't meet third grade reading proficiency are retained, with requirements for 90 minutes of reading instruction per school day.
Students can take fourth grade classes in other subjects or advance midyear to that grade if their reading scores improve.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.