Pass this test or else

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As students prepare for the most important test they will ever take, districts are preparing for the consequences.

The testing period for the Ohio Achievement Assessments, which includes the third grade reading test students have to pass to be promoted to fourth grade, starts April 21.

“Clearly right now we’re going to have some students that fall short,” says Tom Lasley with Learn to Earn.

In Dayton Public Schools, about 30 percent of third grade students passed the third grade reading test in the fall.

“Usually Dayton Public Schools pass rate in the fall is 30 percent,” says Superintendent Lori Ward. “When you look at literacy you have to look at where children come from.”

Those with Learn to Earn are helping students across Montgomery County meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. They say there are generally three things that are behind children not making the grade.

“One is they weren’t ready to learn when they came to school as kindergarteners, a second one is they’re chronically absent, the third is they lose a lot of ground over the summer,” Lasley says.

Dayton Public Schools is referring the 70 percent of students who didn’t pass in the fall to summer classes because they can’t be sure who will pass this time around and scores won’t be back in time.

“The only thing we can do right now is make the assumption that we’re going to have to make sure we have a summer program that meets the needs of those 70 percent of students,” Ward says.

The big concern is what happens to those students who are held back because it increases the chances they won’t finish school.

“The key is going to be how do we meet the mandate without increasing problems that young people are retained and subsequently drop out,” Lasley says.

Many schools, Dayton included, are taking advantage of the extra week given to them by the state for testing because of the harsh winter and won’t start testing on Monday, when the testing period begins. Instead they’ll start the next week.

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