Nearly one in four third-graders in the Oklahoma City School District are reading below grade level and are in danger of being held back if they don’t pass an upcoming state test.
And that has district officials scrambling to provide students with additional instruction while there’s still time.
Wilbur House, director of curriculum development for Oklahoma City Public Schools, estimated Friday that 830 children — about 23 percent of the district’s 3,592 third-graders — could be retained after performing poorly on district assessments in December and January.
“If students are good readers, they are going to do well on the test,” House said. “If they are not good readers, they are not going to do well on the test.”
The assessments are used to gauge student progress and are closely aligned with the state test, which measures reading proficiency and determines advancement for the first time. The test is April 10. Scores should be available in May.
Third-graders who score unsatisfactory on the reading portion of this year’s state test will be held back in the coming school year unless they meet certain exemptions or until they can demonstrate the ability to read at a second-grade level or higher.
The exemptions put forth by the Reading Sufficiency Act include English Language Learners who have less than two years of English and are not proficient, and students with disabilities who are assessed differently.
House said “a high percentage” of those who performed poorly on the recent assessments are ELL students. However, it was unclear Friday how many could qualify for exemptions.