Ohio changes its reading policy: Parents can decide if struggling 3rd graders move to 4th grade, aiming to reduce test stress and support young learners’ development.
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Big news from Ohio! The rules about what happens to kids who have trouble reading in the 3rd grade are changing. Now, parents can choose if their child goes to the 4th grade, even if they are not reading as well as they should be. This change is part of a new plan that the leader of Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine, approved.
Parents and Teachers Working Together
Before this change, if kids were not reading well enough, they might have to stay in the 3rd grade again. However, now, parents will talk with the teacher who teaches reading and the main school leader before deciding. This way, everyone can figure out what is best for the child.
This new way of doing things is good because it means kids who need help with reading can still move forward. They will get extra help with reading until they get better. Teachers think this is a win because it is a better way to help kids.
What the Education Group Thinks
The Ohio Education group’s boss, Scott DiMauro, thinks this change is a big step in the right direction. He said, “We think it is very good that parents and teachers can decide together how to help kids who need to do better in reading.”
Going from 3rd to 4th Grade
Before, if kids in 3rd grade did not pass a reading test, they could not go to the 4th grade. However, this caused much stress. Kids worried too much about just one test. DiMauro said, “Kids got very nervous because of these tests.”
Numbers about the Reading Rule
Only a few kids did not pass the reading test each year to move on. For example, about 1% of kids did not pass for the school year 2021-22. In other years, it was also around 1% or more. So, most kids did move on.
What Teachers Say
A teacher named Melissa Kmetz thinks this change will help kids who struggle with reading. She said that when parents, teachers, and school leaders talk, they can understand how to help the child. It is better than holding kids back in the same grade.
Kmetz said that getting help early and having more help is better than making kids stay behind. She said, “Let us not only care about one test. Let the people who know the kids best choose what is good for the kids.”
Focus on Kids
Kmetz saw that the old rule about reading always worried kids. Kids felt very stressed because of one test. She said, “It is too much pressure for kids.”
Some kids felt so scared about the test that they cried the night before. Other kids who were good students felt scared, too. They thought about the test a lot. Kids also worried about their friends passing the test. They wanted to be together in the next grade.
Kmetz said that while ensuring kids are ready for the next grade is important, there are better ways than just looking at one test.
Teachers Understand Kids
Another teacher, Karen Carney, heard kids worry about the reading test. She said it is not fair to make kids feel so worried. She said, “It is too much for kids only eight or nine years old. It is like we are setting them up to fail.”
When kids have to stay in the same grade, it can affect them for a long time. Kmetz said, “Kids start to believe they are not smart if they cannot pass a test.” This kind of thinking is not good, and she said, “It is like a never-ending problem.”
So, Ohio is changing its rules. It wants to help kids who have trouble reading. The new way is all about working together to help kids do better. It is a big change that can make a big difference for kids in Ohio.