Preparation for the third-grade reading tests starts early. Shown here, East Knox first-graders in Keri Campbell’s class.

Preparation for the third-grade reading tests starts early. Shown here, East Knox first-graders in Keri Campbell’s class.(Photo by Virgil Shipley)
By , Staff Reporter
Mount Vernon News

MOUNT VERNON — Standardized testing has been a reality for school districts for decades, but the stakes for elementary students were dramatically increased with the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 316 in 2012.

The legislation involves what is called the Third Grade Reading Guarantee which mandates that promotion to fourth grade after this school year will depend upon how well the students score on the third-grade Ohio English Language Arts assessment. They have two opportunities to pass the test: The first round of testing occurred in the fall, and the spring testing season is on the horizon.

Third-grade pupils who do not score a 392 on the test will be required to take summer tutoring and take an alternative assessment, an additional expense for school districts as the state does not provide funding for the extra instruction. Knox County Educational Service Center curriculum consultant Bonny Buffington said if the pupils fail that alternative test, they must remain in third grade for another year, with additional reading instruction by a reading specialist or another teacher who meets the “ever-changing and confusing” qualifications set forth by the Ohio Department of Education.

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