Ohio ready to unveil high-stakes reading scores

JULIE CARR SMYTH AP Statehouse Correspondent Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio is preparing to release the results of fall reading tests indicating for the first time that thousands of students statewide are at risk of failing third grade this year.

Under the state's new Third Grade Reading Guarantee, students can be held back if they don't meet tough new reading targets.

State officials anticipated that many students would not have met the targets in results to be released Friday from tests taken at the beginning of third grade. Thirds-graders will be tested again in six months.

State Superintendent Richard Ross urged families socked with seemingly bad news to take the long view.

"My message really is what happens later. What happens in real life if they aren't able to read?" he told reporters in a Thursday briefing on the coming results.

Officials say students who lag new reading standards at year's end will have the chance to re-take reading in the summer. Those still lagging targets after completing summer programs could advance to fourth grade even midyear once targets are met.

"As we've stated, this is really looking at readiness and competency and moving our students forward when they demonstrate that they are on track and on target for success," said Sasheen Phillips, senior executive director for the state's Center for Curriculum and Assessment.

"Promoting a child in an area when they are not ready does not put them at an advantage," she said.

Phillips said the state will use the results to identify students who could benefit from early intervention and other support.

The Ohio Department of Education has posted a host of online literacy resources for families and educators. Those include INFOhio's BookFLIX, which pairs classic video storybooks with related non-fiction e-books, interactive reading games and tips for teaching reading through everyday activities.

Ohio was among 10 states to enact education law revisions last year to look at early literacy development and early reading success as benchmarks to judge long-term state educational achievement, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

State lawmakers revised the law this spring to make more teachers temporarily eligible to participate in helping students meet the new standards after educators raised concerns that they didn't have adequate staff to meet its requirements.

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Online:

http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Early-Learning/Third-Grade-Reading-Guarantee