Third grade retention and common core assessments merge together to present a huge risk for almost a third of Florida’s third graders.
Third grade retention is a term that is frequently used but not easily understood.
Back in 2002, Florida Governor Jeb Bush led the effort to end social promotion — where a child is automatically prmoted to the next grade because they are a year older.
Third grade was chosen as the year to retain students, because 4th grade was considered the year students went from learning to read to reading to learn.
The policy was for a child to be retained if they scored a level one on the FCAT — the 3rd Grade Reading Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
Over the years, they introduced ways for a child to be promoted if the child score a level 1 on the 3rd grade reading FCAT
This year, Florida is changing tests to a Common Core Assessment — although they call it the Florida Standards Assessment,
Teachers and schools will not be help punished for lower scores on the new test, but Florida’s Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has made it clear that the Third Grade Retention Policy will be in place this year in her Commissioners Decisions on the new Florida State Assessments.
While we expect there to be a public uproar when the results are released on the new Florida State Assessments, parents should know that:
– The Commissioner appears to be very committed to the third grade retention policy
– It is likely that the 3rd grade results will be released by themselves in June of 2015, with the other grades results released either during the summer of early fall.
– If your child scores a Level 1, there is a good chance your child will not be prepared for 4th grade, unless you can find a way to dramatically improve your child’s reading comprehension
Five challenges plague many students:
– The student learns differently and has not learned how to understand what he or she reads the way he or she is being taught. We call these students visual-spatial learners
– Have difficulty sustaining attention and with the longer and harder tests, attention over time will be critical
– Skip words and lines when reading and this worsens with longer passages — the new test has 800 word passages versus 500 word passages in prior years
– The questions require more critical thinking skills — to draw inferences and to understand what the author meant, versus the more literal questions that tested a student’s ability to know what was written
– Anxiety and frustration become bigger issues as the work gets harder
We have written a short book for parents and professionals. You can access this at www.3dlearner.com/success-by-3rd-grade — where you can also access an assessment that assesses for a learning difference and attention and eye-teaming issues.