Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

May 12, 2014

Senate Review

OKLAHOMA CITY —

A couple of weeks ago, I shared information about the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA), a measure approved in 2011 requiring a reading test at the end of the third-grade year to make sure each child was reading at grade-level. 
If a student doesn’t pass, they are to be held back so they could have another year to improve their reading ability.
Many third-graders throughout Oklahoma were anxious about the test, worried that if they didn’t score high enough, they wouldn’t be able to continue to the fourth grade with their classmates.  
I got to experience this first hand, as our youngest son was one of the many third-graders taking the exam.
I did not support the original legislation—not because I didn’t agree with the idea behind the bill, which was ensuring more of Oklahoma students were truly mastering the reading skills they needed to succeed  as they moved from one grade to the next—I support that concept 100 percent.
The problem I saw with RSA was that we didn’t give the schools the resources they needed to help focus more attention on those students struggling with reading.  
I was also concerned that for most students, being able to move on to the fourth grade could come down to one high-stakes test.
On Friday, the State Department of Education (SDE) announced the scores had been tallied, and statewide, nearly 80 percent of Oklahoma third-graders were on track to be promoted to the fourth-grade.
That’s better than some had predicted.  Not all of the districts’ scores can be seen online.  Scores for small school districts can’t be seen, because of the concern that it might accidently disclose the identity of some of those students who scored Unsatisfactory.  
They are easy to find for larger school districts.  

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