The Norman Transcript

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May 10, 2014

Nearly 15 percent of Norman third-graders perform at ‘unsatisfactory’ level on reading test

NORMAN — Norman Public School officials on Friday were notified by the state Department of Education (SDE) that nearly 15 percent of all tested third-graders performed unsatisfactorily on the state’s third grade language arts exam this spring.

Officials said that, based on preliminary test results generated by the state’s testing vendor, 167 of its 1,119 third-graders performed unsatisfactorily.

Other local districts and the percent unsatisfactory are Noble, 8.7 percent; Moore, 9.6 percent, Little Axe, 13.3 percent and Oklahoma City, 28.9 percent. Statewide, 4,937 out of 42,598 tested unsatisfactorily for a 11.6 percent failure rate.

Of those Norman third-graders identified by the state, 65 percent were either English language learners and/or special education students, district officials said.

The higher number of NPS third-graders performing unsatisfactory this spring directly corresponds to the SDE eliminating the option of special education students taking a modified state exam if their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team of teachers, counselors and parents deemed it appropriate because of the nature of their special learning needs. Last year, only 6.7 percent of NPS third-graders performed unsatisfactory on the state language arts exam, yet 48 special education students took a modified state exam.

A new state law requires third-graders who perform unsatisfactory on the third grade language arts exam to be retained in the third grade unless they qualify for an exemption.

“However, which of these students will be retained in the third grade because of this law cannot be determined until this summer,” said Dr. Joe Siano. “Our principals now are in the process of reviewing the accuracy of the information provided to us by the state today, analyzing exemptions, and will be making phone calls Monday to parents of students who may be impacted by this law.”

All NPS students who scored unsatisfactory will be offered summer school, alternate exams and/or compile portfolios so they may have the opportunity to advance to the fourth grade. According to state law, to advance to the fourth grade, students who don’t qualify for exemptions must retest and perform above unsatisfactory on the state exam or an approved alternate exam and/or compile a portfolio for the state to consider.

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