Oklahoma is raising the bar on its pivotal, high-stakes reading test administered to third graders, which is likely to leave more students at risk of repeating the third grade.
Twelve percent of third graders, those who scored “unsatisfactory” – the lowest level – did not meet criteria for automatic promotion in 2016.
Beginning in 2017-18, students will have to score “proficient” in reading to receive automatic promotion to fourth grade — a level above what is required now. Twenty-eight percent of third grade students, or about 14,900, did not score proficient on the English/language arts exam, a portion of which determines their reading score.
A disproportionate number of low-income, black and Hispanic students have scored poorly on the test each year since 2014 and were subject to retention.
“We know the bar has been raised, and families will begin to appreciate even more strongly the need to be reading earlier,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.
Results from 2017, which were tested under new, more rigorous English/language arts standards, and from 2018, in which the higher proficiency level will apply, are likely to identify more students in need of reading support, she said.
“We can no longer accept that a student would not be prepared and ready. They should be prepared and ready long before third grade to be reading at grade level or above,” Hofmeister said.