The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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May 9, 2014

Third-grade reading tests see 80 percent pass

According to Oklahoma Department of Education, about 80 percent of the state’s third-graders passed reading tests with scores good enough to allow them to move up to fourth grade.

However, statistics released by the state appear to leave some room for doubt.

OKSDE: Exemptions, why the law was created, what happens now

According to the district-by-district list of test results at http://ok.gov/sde/reading-sufficiency-act, 41 of 53 Fairview students — 77.4 percent — garnered a “proficient” score.

Mark VanMeter, principal at Fairview’s Cornelsen Elementary School, said the number of students ODE used for the school is not accurate, which skews the figures.

“We’ve had some students move out of our district, so they weren’t able to take that test,” VanMeter said. “If they’re not here, we can’t test them. We had a total of 44 of our 47 tested came out proficient or advanced — that’s 93.6 percent. We’re very proud of our students, teachers and entire staff.”

Scores released by ODE were in several categories, including unsatisfactory, limited knowledge, proficient, advanced and no score due to status as well as the total number of students.

Enid Public Schools was listed as having 127 students scoring unsatisfactory, 102 scoring limited knowledge, 391 scoring proficient, 12 scoring advanced and 44 with no score due to status, out of 676 total.

“More than 80 percent of Enid Public Schools third-grade students passed the state reading test,” said Amber Fitzgerald, human resources and communications director for EPS.

Fitzgerald said teachers and students worked “incredibly hard” to prepare for the reading assessment.

According to a press release from Janet Barresi, state superintendent of public instruction, third-graders who scored in the unsatisfactory range can take an alternative reading test in the summer or demonstrate reading skills in a portfolio submitted by their teachers.

“Sixteen percent of third-graders scored unsatisfactory but will have two additional opportunities to demonstrate basic reading skills through a student portfolio or an alternative reading assessment provided for under the state’s Reading Sufficiency Act,” Barresi said.

Fitzgerald said EPS is contacting parents of third-graders with unsatisfactory scores to discuss options.

“In addition to re-testing students, we also are reviewing good cause exceptions that may apply,” Fitzgerald said. “We will continue to work hard for students and to advocate for what is best for them. Summer school will also be available for students to strengthen their academic skills.”

This is the first year the state has tied third-grade retention directly to the results of a mandatory exam, Fitzgerald said.

“The House of Representatives will vote Monday on a bill that would allow educators and the student’s parents to review each individual situation to make the best decision for the child involved,” Fitzgerald said. “We hope state lawmakers will give parents the opportunity to have a voice in this process, and we encourage parents to contact legislators about their concerns.”

Statewide scores for the third-grade reading Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test, as released by ODE, were as follows:

• 1,120 — 2.2 percent — scored advanced.

• 32,531 — 64 percent — scored proficient.

• 7,070 — 13.9 percent — scored limited knowledge.

• 7,970 — 15.7 percent — scored unsatisfactory.

OKSDE's 3K3 Reading Oklahoma

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