Richmond County Daily Journal
HAMLET —Barely one-fifth of this year’s third grade students in Richmond County met the criteria for being on track with regards to reading proficiency.
The issue was addressed Tuesday night at the monthly public meeting of the Richmond County Board of Education in Hamlet. Cynthia Magee, director of testing and accountability, presented the results of this school year.
The initial Beginning-of-Grade 3 Test was administered this fall to third grade students. A total of 539 third-graders students were tested. Only 113, or 21 percent, of those students met the criteria for being on track with regards to reading proficiency.
This test is part of the North Carolina Read to Achieve program. The Read to Achieve program is part of the Excellent Public Schools Act that became law in July of 2012. It officially applies to all schools for the 2013-2014 school year.
The program is focused specifically on reading proficiency in the third grade. The goal of the program is to help ensure students read at or above grade level by the end of the school year. The purpose of the test is to help provide a baseline for the individual student on the growth that is needed for the end of the year.
The test is given during the first three weeks of the third-grade year. It consists of the material that the student will learn throughout the entire third-grade. The test measures if the student is on track with meeting the requirements for third-grade reading proficiency.
Joe Richardson, school board member, wanted to add clarification to the results that have been released.
“This is not a test of their knowledge already learned,” Richardson said. “This is all new material, and it is third grade material they have not learned yet. The 21 percent doesn’t mean that only 21 percent of second graders are prepared to move on to the third grade.”
Superintendent George Norris agreed with Richardson, adding that the results simply “mean that one in five kids have already achieved those things they would be taught in the third grade.”
Magee also presented to the board the new requirements for the End of Course assessments for high school level exams. Last year the state allowed districts to decide how much the tests would weigh in final grades because the tests were new and there was no good information to see how the results would be because of the new standards.
In the past final exams have accounted for 25 percent of a student’s final grade. This has now changed to 20 percent.