Saturday, December 08, 2001

Half pass 4th-grade reading

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        About half the students statewide who took the reading portion of the fourth-grade proficiency tests in October and March have already met the requirements for their grade level.

        The Ohio Department of Education released results Friday.

Hamilton County
Butler County
Warren County
Clermont County
        More than 60,000 students statewide (nearly half the students who took the test) received a “proficient score” or better in results state officials call encouraging. “About 50 percent have already met or exceeded the fourth-grade reading expectations with five months of classroom instruction to go,” said Beth Gianforcaro, department spokeswoman.

        This is the first time students can take the reading test multiple times to pass. Last year, the fourth-grade reading test and the other four portions of the test were given just once — in the spring of students' fourth-grade year.

        Students now have the option of taking the fourth-grade reading test while they are still in third grade, and then in October, March and July of fourth grade.

        A student must achieve at least a “basic score” — (198 to 216 out of 270) to pass to fifth grade, unless the student receives intervention or the student's teacher and principal agree to promote the student.

        In Cincinnati Public Schools, 28 percent of 2,756 students taking the fourth-grade test in October scored below a “basic” score. Twenty-seven percent taking the test scored “proficient” or better, while last year 31 percent who took the test in the spring had reached that level.

        CPS Associate Superintendent Kathleen Ware said this year's results impressed her because nearly the same percentage of fourth-grade students tested this fall reached the proficient score as those who reached proficient by the end of last year.

        “We expect the spring of 2002 results to be significantly higher,” she said.


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