An after school program at the local library helps students improve reading skills, enabling them to be promoted to the Tenext grade the following school year.
Taneisha Taylor’s son, Azyiah, is worried that he won’t move on to fourth grade with his friends this year because of the state’s third-grade reading test.
During the first administration of the test, he scored a few points below passing. Under the state’s new third-grade reading guarantee, thousands of Ohio students who don’t pass the test could be held back for the first time this summer.
“He’s just a little nervous, you know,” said Taylor, 28. “He’s like, ‘This test, I won’t pass.’”
But last month, Taylor started taking Azyiah, 9, and his sister Alayiah, 8, to the Hilltop Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library two afternoons a week for the free Reading Buddies program. It pairs central Ohio students with library staff members and community volunteers for one-on-one reading practice.
“He’s just more confident in his reading and his word development, developing different words and how to pronounce them,” Taylor said. “He’s been reading Captain Underpants — that’s one of his favorites.”
The test will be administered twice more before the start of next school year, said Mark Real, president of KidsOhio.
And its not just inner-city parents who need to wake up to what’s going on — almost every school in the state has kids who will be affected.
In New Albany schools, almost 16 percent of third-graders scored in the lowest “limited” category on the first test administration, or about 63 children who might be held back. They can recognize a few words but don’t comprehend simple text. In Dublin, it was more than 13 percent, or roughly 145 kids.
Those who score in the lower half of the state’s “basic” level — the next level up from limited — would also fail the test, adding even more students who would be held back.
More than 1 in 5 Hilliard schools third-graders had scores in the limited range, almost 240 kids who could be held back, a KidsOhio report released yesterday shows.
In some lower-income districts, the situation is a disaster: Almost half of Columbus City Schools third-graders received a limited rating (roughly 2,000 kids), as did 44 percent in Whitehall, 38 percent in Groveport Madison and 36 percent in South-Western.
In central Ohio, nearly 4,000 kids face being retained in the third grade this year, officials said yesterday. They held a media event at the Hilltop library to warn parents of what’s coming and to get their kids into reading programs — fast.
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