The Oklahoma State Department of Education reports that about 80 percent of Oklahoma third-graders are eligible to be promoted to fourth grade based on the state's reading test scores.
Statewide, 16 percent of the students scored Unsatisfactory on the test, according to figures released on Friday to Oklahoma school districts and elementary schools. Those students 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 (RSA.)
In Oklahoma City, 28.9 percent of third-graders scored Unsatisfactory. And 5.3 percent in Edmond, 9.6 percent in Moore, 14.9 percent in Norman, and 9.1 percent in Yukon scored Unsatisfactory.
According to the Department of Education, under the RSA, schools now will determine which third-grade students qualify for one of the law's good-cause exemptions to allow promotion to fourth-grade.
Students who scored Unsatisfactory will have the summer to take alternate tests and attend summer reading academies. Teachers can provide portfolios of a child's work to show he or she can read at grade level.
"Nothing is more fundamental to a child's education than the ability to read, and it is our responsibility to educators to see to it that all children have the resources necessary to gain this vital skill before they slip further and further behind. We are moving in the right direction," State Superintendent Janet Barresi said.
Statewide, scores for the third-grade reading Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT) were as follows:
1,120 — or 2.2 percent — scored Advanced
32,531 — or 64 percent — scored Proficient
7,070 — or 13.9 percent — scored Limited Knowledge
7,970 — or 15.7 percent — scored Unsatisfactory
Four percent did not take the test for various reasons.
Third graders who score unsatisfactory on state tests and benchmark assessments are reading at about a first-grade level or below, officials say.
Third grade is a milestone because it's where instruction really turns from teaching children to read to having children read to learn.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools released the following statement Friday afternoon:
"We are stunned and disappointed that the Oklahoma State Department of Education prematurely released our district's results of the third grade reading assessment to the media. We had hoped to communicate individual results and options to students and their families prior to the public announcement of such preliminary district-wide numbers. This is especially distressing to third grade students and their parents who will not know their personal outcomes until next week.
As a result, school leaders and staff will spend Mother's Day weekend determining exemptions and verifying information for approximately 3,445 students. Parents will be notified as early as possible next week if their child's score is satisfactory or unsatisfactory, and individual conferences will be held for the parents of each third grade child May 14-June 6. I want to reassure parents that we will be reaching out to them as soon as we have the individual information about their children.
These test results are important in the lives of many of our students. We believe in our students and teachers, and a plan is in place to address the needs of every child. It is unfortunate and confusing that the announcement was handled in this manner by the ok State Education Department." – Dave Lopez, Interim Superintendent