Preliminary tests show 85 percent of third-graders will be heading to fourth grade

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OKLAHOMA CITY – It seems that most third-graders in Oklahoma will be heading to the fourth grade.

Preliminary results from this school year’s third-grade Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test indicate that 85 percent will be allowed to go to the next grade.

Out of more than 50,000 test-takers, 67 percent of students scored “proficient,” while 14.6 percent scored “unsatisfactory.”

Also, 15.9 percent of students tested at “limited knowledge,” while 2.5 percent scored “advanced.”

Under the Reading Sufficiency Act, third-graders who score “unsatisfactory” on the assessment and fail to meet an exemption may need to take intensive remediation in reading.

“While these numbers are preliminary and will change slightly, it appears the percentage of ‘Unsatisfactory’ has decreased. And more students evidently scored ‘Limited Knowledge,’ showing improvement between ‘Unsatisfactory’ and ‘Limited Knowledge,’ said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.

“But it is important to remember, too, that the current third-grade OCCT test given to satisfy federal test requirements was not designed to measure reading level the way it is being used for RSA. Instead, a valid reading test should include five essential elements: fluency, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

“For this reason it is very important that students who did not pass the OCCT reading test now be assessed by an RSA committee. These panels will examine other specific reading evidence to determine the need for retention or targeted intervention for next year. As these committees are essential to ensuring success, I urge the Legislature to keep their voices in the RSA process.”

Over the next few weeks, school districts are required to contact parents and legal custodians of students who scored “unsatisfactory” and determine the most effective course of action for these children.

Experts say two-thirds of students who scored “unsatisfactory” are learning English on an Individualized Education Program. The same designation applies to 39 percent of test-takers who scored “limited knowledge.”

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