New Legislation – 3rd Grade Reading

Third Grade Reading Guarantee

1)  Requires the State Board of Education to determine the “cut” score (not lower than the“limited” level of skill), progressively adjusting it upwards until the retention requirements apply to students who do not receive at least a “proficient” score. Not later than December 31, 2013, requires the State Board to submit to the General Assembly recommended changes to the scoring ranges of the state achievement assessments necessary for the successful implementation of the common core curriculum and assessments in the 2014‐15 school year.2)  Beginning with students entering third grade in the 2013‐14 school year, generally prohibits schools districts and community schools from promoting to fourth grade a student scoring below the State Board’s specific cut score on the third grade reading achievement assessments,but exempts from retention the following:

a)  Limited English proficient students who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for less than two full school years and have had less than two years of instruction in an English as a second language program;

b)  Special education students whose IEPs exempt them from retention under the third grade guarantee, and special education students whose IEPs or 504 Plans show that they have received intensive remediation in reading for two school years, and who have previously been retained in any of grades K to 3, but who still demonstrate a deficiency in reading;

c)  Students who, as determined by the Department of Education, demonstrate an acceptable level of performance on an alternative standardized reading assessment;

d)  Students who received intensive remediation in reading for two school years but still demonstrate a deficiency in reading, and were previously retained in any of grades K to 3, as long as the student continues to receive intensive reading instruction in fourth grade. That instruction must include an altered instructional day that includes specialized diagnostic information and specific research‐based reading strategies that have been successful in improving reading among low‐performing readers;

3)  Requires school districts and community schools to provide all retained third‐graders with instruction in a specific academic field that is commensurate with student achievement levels.

4)  Beginning in the 2012‐13 school year, requires each district and community school to assess the reading skills of each student in grades K to 3 by September 30 of each school year and identify students reading below grade level. Requires that they administer the state‐developed diagnostic assessments in English language arts, or a comparable tool approved by the Department of Education, to all students.

5)  Specifies that the notice (required by current law) must inform the parent or guardian that the student has been identified as having a substantial reading deficiency, describe the current services provided to the student, describe the proposed supplemental services and supports to be provided, and explain that the student may be retained in third grade if the student scores below the State Board’s specified cut score on the third grade reading achievement assessment.

6)  Specifies that intensive reading instruction must be provided immediately following identification of a read deficiency, and must include “intensive, explicit, and systematic instruction,” research‐based reading strategies that have been shown to be successful in improving reading among low‐performing readers, and instruction targeted at the student’s identified reading deficiencies.

7)  Requires the district or community school to develop a reading improvement and monitoring plan for each student identified as reading below grade level. The plan must do the following:

a)  Identify the student’s specific reading deficiencies;

b)  Describe the additional instructional services and support that will be provided to re-mediate the student’s deficiencies;

c)  Include opportunities for parental involvement in those services and support;

d)  Specify a process for monitoring the student’s receipt of the services and support;

e)  Provide a reading curriculum during regular school hours that provides scientifically based and reliable assessments and provides initial and ongoing analysis of each student’s reading progress;

f)  State that the student may be retained in third grade for failure to pass the third‐grade reading achievement assessment.

8)  Requires the district or community school to report to the Department of Education any information requested by the Department about the reading improvement and monitoring plans.

9)  Requires the district or community school to assign each student who has a reading improvement and monitoring plan, and who enters third grade in the 2013‐14 school year or later, to a teacher who either has received a passing score on a rigorous test of principles of scientifically based reading instruction or has a reading endorsement on the teacher’s license.

10) For each student retained in third grade, requires each district or community school, to do the following:

a)  Provide intense remediation services until the student is able to read at grade level.  Specifies that the services must include intensive interventions in reading that address the areas of deficiencies, including not less than 90 minutes of reading daily and may include other strategies such as small group instruction, reduced student‐teacher ratios, more frequent progress monitoring, tutoring or mentoring, transition classes containing third and fourth grade students, extended school day, week, or year, or summer reading camps;

b)  Provide a high‐performing teacher, as determined by the teacher’s student performance data and performance reviews when available;

c)  A district or community school must offer the option to receive services from other providers;

d)  Requires the district, community school or Department of Education to screen any other service provider

e)  Establish a policy for mid‐year promotion if the student demonstrates that the student is reading at or above grade level, and promote the student to fourth grade if the student demonstrates reading proficiency in accordance with standards adopted by the Department.

11)  Includes summer reading camps as an option for services offered to retained third‐graders. Does not mandate summer services, but likewise eliminates the requirement of current law that summer remediation be provided in a school or community center and not on an at‐home basis.

12)  Requires districts to submit the results of the K‐3 diagnostic assessments in English language arts and math to the Department. Allows the Department to issue a report on the data collected.

13)  Requires each district and community school annually to report to the Department on its implementation of and compliance with the bill’s third‐grade guarantee requirement.

14)  Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction annually to report to the Governor and General Assembly the number and percentage of students in grades K‐4 reading below grade level, types of intervention service provided, and an evaluation, if available, on the efficacy of those services, all aggregated by district and school building.

15)  Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor’s Director of 21st Century Education to report to the Governor and General Assembly, by December 31, 2012, on the ability of the Department of Education to re-prioritize state and federal funds, in order to identify additional funds that may be used to support the assessments and interventions associated with the third‐grade reading guarantee. The Superintendent and Director must examine all available sources of funding, including Title I federal funds for disadvantaged students, Title II (D) federal funds for educational technology, and Title III federal funds for limited English proficient students.

16)  Requires the State Board of Education and the Early Childhood Advisory Council in consultation with the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education to jointly develop legislative recommendations on the state’s policies on literacy education of children from birth to third grade. The joint recommendations are due to the Governor and members of the General Assembly not later than February 28, 2013.

17)  Requires each district’s and community school’s policy to comply with the terms of the third grade reading guarantee.