Standards Change for Ohio's Kindergarten Through Third

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The start of a new school year and for third graders in Ohio that means stricter standards and expectations.
It's the third grade guarantee, a new Ohio legislation requires all schools to evaluate the reading levels of all kindergarten through third graders.

"Really there's not a whole lot of difference that that's going to cause us because when kids aren't reading at grade level we use a diagnostic instrument anyway, or a multitude of instruments and we intervene," explains Belpre School District Superintendent, Tony Dunn.

By the end of September, schools will report to parents on where their students is on that reading scale.
If any student, kindergarten through third, is behind... a plan is put into place to help them better read.
Now school districts, like Belpre and Marietta, are looking to creative ways to bring students up to level.

"That we're hoping we don't have to do that," says Director of teaching and learning for the Marietta School District, Jason Smith. "We'll have summer school, a three week intensive reading training that we're going to be doing with Marietta college for kids that are struggling, so I think we've got a lot going on that's going to help them."

If by the end of the third grade students still are not where the state says they should be they could be held back.

"Retention for kids is always a very very tricky endeavor," says Dunn. "Research shows us that once kids are retained, at any level, there's a higher chance that they will not finish high school."

"If we have bench marks all along the way, then we'll know who really needs help and who would benefit from being held back," explains Smith.

The standards are new for every school in Ohio leaving questions only time can answer.

"It's a worrisome thing for school districts because it could really cause a log jam at third grade for us if we have a lot of kids that don't read at grade level," says Dunn

The changes will also rely on parent support and help outside the classroom.

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