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15 Percent of One State's 3rd Graders May Be Held Back for Low Reading Scores

15 Percent of Mississippi Third-Graders Face Being Held Back for Low-Reading Scores

Recently announced results to Mississippi's third-grade reading test administered under a new state law to improve third-grade reading skills could mean that 15 percent of the state's third-graders—approximately 5,000 students—will have to repeat the grade.

According to The Hechinger Report, the Third-Grade Reading Summative Assessment is the result of the Literacy Based Promotion Act, "aimed to make it tougher for students to advance if they don’t read at grade level" by measuring how third-grader perform in regards to English Language Arts (ELA) standards.

These 5,000 students will have three more opportunities to pass the exam and therefore advance to the fourth grade: two opportunities later this month, and one last opportunity over summer break.

The results don't necessarily come as a surprise. "Last year, about 5,000 third-graders scored below proficient on another reading test but were not held back because there was no law in place requiring it," the article said.

Critics of the new law argue that holding third-graders who cannot pass the test back will only do more harm than good. Some argue that holding students back likely won't result in improved learning unless something different in regards to teaching is done.

Others argue that teachers were too unfamiliar with the test's expectations to best prepare their students and so holding them back isn't fair, according to the article.

It is important to note that "at least a dozen states, including Ohio and Tennessee, require students to repeat third grade if they are not reading on grade level," but since Mississippi students "have lagged behind their peers on national reading exams" for years, the impact would be much more significant.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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