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Third-Grade Reading Guarantee

Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee

Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee

Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee aims to ensure that struggling young readers get the support needed to improve. By third grade, students should be strong enough readers to begin “reading to learn,” and move away from the “learning to read” focus of earlier grades. 

Educators know that students who are poor readers by the end of third grade can fall behind in all subjects, will continue to struggle academically and be at risk of dropping out of school.

Beginning in 2014-15, all third-graders scoring below 394 on the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) reading test must be retained in third grade to allow time for improvement, per state law.  

Students retained in third grade for low reading scores must receive instruction from a high-performing reading teacher and 90 minutes of reading instruction each school day.

How it Works

In kindergarten through third grade, teachers evaluate all students by September 30 of each school year to determine if they are reading as well as they should. Any children evaluated as having weak reading skills will begin immediately working through a reading improvement plan. This plan addresses each student's unique reading problems. Teachers will monitor the plan to ensure reading is improving and will work with parents to help them support the plan.

Advancing to Fourth Grade

A third-grader reading below 394 on the Fall or Spring test administration will receive intensive reading services through the summer, and, if the student then scores 394 or higher on the reading OAA (or a state-approved alternative assessment) before school starts, the student will be promoted to fourth grade.

A retained student can take fourth-grade classes in all other subjects, if the student shows mastery of third-grade skills on a state or district assessment. 

If a retained student’s reading skills improve, the student may be considered for promotion into fourth grade during the school year.

Parents of students who are exempted from the third-grade guarantee will be notified.

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