MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 10, 2014

20 percent of city third-graders fail

Reading test shows one in five below line to move up to fourth grade

Area schools are seeking ways to help third-graders who failed the state reading test move on to fourth grade.

The Oklahoma Department of Education released results of its high-stakes third-grade reading test Thursday. Under the state’s Reading Sufficiency Act, students with “unsatisfactory” reading test scores do not move on to the fourth grade unless they meet certain exceptions.

One fifth of Muskogee Public Schools’ 489 third-graders had unsatisfactory reading test scores, according to a list released Thursday by the state. Statewide, 16 percent of third graders scored unsatisfactory.

“We’re already scheduling summer schools,” MPS Elementary Education Director Clevetta Gray said on Thursday. “We’re sending out letters today. Our principals are calling parents today.”

Gray said 98 students received unsatisfactory scores. Of those, 44 were special education students on Individual Education Plans, she said.

“A few missed being ‘limited knowledge’ by two or three points,” she said. “We are going to let the teachers work with them.”

According to a Department of Education media release, students with unsatisfactory scores have two additional opportunities to demonstrate basic reading skills:

• A portfolio of the students’ work.

• Alternative reading tests.

Schools also can determine which students qualify for good cause exemptions such as speaking English as a second language or students who have been retained twice.

Students also can attend summer reading academies and take alternate tests this summer, according to the release.

“We will test them all through summer school,” Gray said. “Those who pass in summer will pass on to the fourth grade. And during the next school year, parents can have them tested. We can have until November for them to pass again.”

At Hilldale, 17 out of 130 students, or 13.1 percent, received unsatisfactory scores. Assistant Principal Patti Bilyard said officials do not yet know how many of those were special education students.

“We have a summer reading program we offer to the students,” she said. “We have other grades in the program, but with the third graders, we will hit them hard on fluency and comprehension.”

Bilyard said the school will seek to prove student proficiency through portfolios that show day-to-day work.

Fort Gibson also will use portfolios to show student proficiency, said district test coordinator Cheryl Hill.

She said students take a reading test several times a year.

Hill said the portfolio includes “any kinds of reading assessment, anything that shows that kids are working on grade level.”

Eleven out of 113 Fort Gibson third-graders, or 9.7 percent, received unsatisfactory scores.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

Area third grade test results

School      Number scoring Unsatisfactory     Percent scoring unsatisfactory    Total third graders

• Muskogee    98    20    489

• Hilldale    17    13.1    130

• Fort Gibson    11    9.7    113

• Oktaha    10    16.4    61

• Checotah    12    12.4    97

• Eufaula    16    20    80

• Haskell    12    22.6    53

• Porter    10    22.2    45

• Tahlequah    25    9.6    260

• Wagoner    23    13.5    170

• Districts with insufficient data on unsatisfactory scores: Braggs, Briggs, Keys, Lowery, Midway, Gore, Cherokee Immersion School, Norwood, Okay, Peggs, Grand View, Porum, Shady Grove, Stidham, Tenkiller, Wainwright, Webbers Falls, Woodall.

SOURCE: Oklahoma Department of Education.

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