Ohio Education Association calls for end of “Third Grade Reading Guarantee”

The “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” is the practice of holding students back if they don’t meet a state benchmark for reading.
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ohio Education Association is urging the state to consider ending the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee.” It’s the practice of holding students back if they don’t meet a state benchmark for reading.

Leaders at Shoreland Elementary School in Toledo say they are in support of ending the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee.”

“What the state does with that Third Grade Reading Guarantee really doesn’t take into account all the hard work and the growth that may happen from their first test in October to the spring,” said Shoreland’s principal Kim Dedo. “It’s still that they just haven’t reached this high.”

Third-graders are typically eight and nine years old, and teachers say knowing they must pass a test to move on with their education is hard on the kids.

“It stresses them out, they may have a bad day and they may be dealing with things at home that we are not aware of,” said third-grade teacher Hope Pawlaczyk. “The state puts a lot of pressure on one test and I think Washington Local does a really good job of seeing the child as a whole.”

Principal Dedo and Pawlaczyk say that these tests are just a snapshot of one day of a student’s life and don’t incorporate different stressors or circumstances.

“We’re putting the same universal benchmark for every kid so if you don’t pass we’re failing you. Really we have students that come to us from different backgrounds, at different levels, at different growths,” said Dedo.

Pawlaczyk said she values literacy, but there are more things that go into a child’s education. She doesn’t believe the state takes that into consideration.

“It’s a hurdle that’s a little impossible for every student to accomplish. I think if they were in the classroom with us I think they’d see a lot more material, more things coming to the students’ perspectives than just one test,” said Pawlaczyk.

There will be a virtual meeting Monday so state education experts can talk about why they believe the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” should be eliminated.

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