Ohio’s Third Grade Guarantee law will require schools to retain most third graders who don’t attain the proper score on the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) that will be administered in April 2014.  Yesterday, we discussed how the State Board of Education set the mark for kids to attain at 28 points, equaling a scaled score of 392, which is slightly below the scaled score of 400 that earns these children the label of being “proficient” in reading.  Today, we’re going to take a look at how many children are likely to be retained due to this law.

welcome to 3rd gradeFirst, it’s important to note that the state does not publish test results by scaled score, so results by testing level are the closest we can get.  In this case, we’re looking at the number of students scoring less than proficient on the third grade reading OAA last year to get a sense of what we might expect when this year’s test results come back in June.

Based on data from the Ohio Department of Education, 122,298 public school third graders took the reading OAA last year.  Out of that number, 19,726 scored at the levels of Limited or Basic, putting them in the range for being retained in third grade.  That means that statewide, approximately 16% of third graders would not be moving on to fourth grade next year.

Digging in to these numbers even further, we find that 4,811 of those children are in one of Ohio’s large Urban 8 districts.  Those districts collectively tested nearly 14,000 children, meaning that approximately 34% of the third graders in these high-poverty areas would be enrolled in summer intervention programs and retained in third grade until they can pass the test (or an equivalent test yet to be designed by the Ohio Department of Education).

A look at Ohio’s charter schools reveals that statewide, charters tested 6,648 third graders, with 2,021 failing to attain the proficient level, a failure rate of about 30%.  The disparity among the results of charters across the state is quite remarkable.  While there are 26 charter schools with worse failure rates than the lowest scoring school district (East Cleveland), four charter schools (and 13 entire school districts) actually had every third grader attain a score of proficient or higher.

So while many across Ohio seem to think this Third Grade Reading Guarantee law only affects those in the high-poverty urban areas, we’ve only accounted for 6,832 of the 19,726 third graders at this point, meaning that 12,894 third grade children, or 66%, slated to be required to engage in summer reading intervention programs and repeat third grade are from Ohio’s rural and suburban districts.

So what other families should be putting their summer vacation plans on hold to comply with this new state law?

  • 400 families from Southwestern City
  • 200 families from Hilliard
  • 150 families from each of the City School Districts in Euclid, Hamilton, Lorain, and Warren
  • Over 100 families from Elyria, Lakota, Lima, Middletown, Newark, Parma,  and West Clermont
  • More than 50 families from:
    Maple Heights City
    Olentangy Local
    Princeton City
    Whitehall City
    Xenia Community City
    East Cleveland City
    Dublin City
    Washington Local
    Groveport Madison Local
    Pickerington Local
    Painesville City Local
    Lancaster City
    Huber Heights City
    Sandusky City
    Western Brown Local
    Kettering City
    Marysville Exempted Village
    Winton Woods City
    Oak Hills Local
    Adams County/Ohio Valley Local
    Delaware City
    Fairborn City
    Ashtabula Area City
    Zanesville City
    Willoughby-Eastlake City
    Fremont City
    Mad River Local
    Bedford City
    Mansfield City
    Alliance City
    Mentor Exempted Village
    Madison Local
    Worthington City
    Massillon City
    Medina City
    East Liverpool City
    Lakewood City
    Sidney City
    Licking Heights Local
  • and finally, even 100 families from Governor Kasich’s home district, Westerville City

Sorry kids, I know you’d like to engage in developmentally appropriate activities, but summer school it is.

And sorry parents, cancel those vacation plans — the law leaves you no choice but to comply with the intervention and retention plans.


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