(Plain Press, July 2014)According to the latest announcement by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District,nearly 80 percent of CMSD third-graders complied with Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee during the 2013-14 school year, roughly doubling the number who met the standard in the fall.
As of October, only 40 percent of third-graders had scored well enough on the Ohio Achievement Assessment to meet the standard, which is required to earn promotion to the fourth grade.
Since then, 1,046 achieved the minimum score or better on the Northwest Evaluation Association, or NWEA, reading test, an equivalent exam accepted by the state. Another 160 met the threshold on the spring OAA, raising compliance to 77 percent.
The District is working aggressively with the remaining 625 third-graders to help them comply, Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon said. The students had a chance to enroll in a free summer reading academy and can take the OAA and NWEA in July.
To avoid a repeat performance next year and the prospect of many 3rd graders being held back a year, Educational Advocate Don Freeman proposed to the Board of Education at its June meeting that the district resurrect the Primary Achievement Program. The Primary Achievement Program is a successful program piloted at two Cleveland elementary schools – Anton Grdina and Alfred Benesch — about twenty years ago. In the program students advance to various levels of achievement based on their mastery of skills, says Freeman.
Freeman urged the Board of Education reinstitute the Primary Achievement Program for students grades kindergarten through third grade and provide the necessary training and resources for teachers to focus on teaching skills and advancing students based on their mastery of those skills.