Beat Third Grade Retention with the Right Interventions

March 11, 2021

Third Grade Retention is a major issue in Florida.  This blog post is written specifically for Florida, but many of the points may be applicable elsewhere.  We understand the law quite well.  What differentiates 3D Learner from others is:

  • Our primary focus is on significantly improving your child’s reading comprehension and love for reading while reducing anxiety
  • Virtually every third grader we help gets promoted and enters fourth grade far better prepared to succeed
  • We understand the system and will provide you with the best possible advice
  • We want to help every parent to understand the system and to make the best possible decisions for their child.

Third-grade retention was not an issue in 2019-20 when the Third Grade English Language Assessment did not occur.  Now, Florida Education Commission Richard Cochran has issued guidance that all students must come to school to take Florida Standards Assessment.  Note, the third-grade retention law comes into play if a child scores a Level 1 on the Third Grade English Language Assessment.  There are some parents who suggest that parents opt-out of the testing and pursue a student portfolio.

Several key points to consider before making a decision:

  • We strongly recommend against opting out of this test, if 3rd-grade retention is a risk for your child. Opting out significantly raises the risk for third-grade retention.

Most students at risk for third-grade retention are 1.5 to 2 years below grade level in reading comprehension.  To beat third-grade retention and prepare your child for Fourth Grade Success, it is critical to improve your child’s reading comprehension.

In Florida, being promoted to 4th grade only requires a student to achieve a Level 2 on the English Language Assessment.  In a typical year, only 20% will score a Level 1 on the test and only 10 percent will face 3rd-grade retention — as the others meet a Good Cause Exemption.

This year, with the Covid Learning Slide, we suspect the number of students at risk for third-grade retention may increase to 25 to 30 percent.

All the other ways to beat 3rd Grade Retention require your child to be far closer to grade level than getting a Level 2 on the third grade English Language Assessment. Putting your child in a private school or homeschooling are both valid options to beat third-grade retention, but they do not address the underlying reading comprehension issue.  This is a more significant issue if you choose to put your child in a private school, where they strive to be a year ahead of the public schools.

The best way to beat third-grade retention and for your child to be prepared for 4th grade and above is to increase their reading comprehension and to lower their anxiety.

A mother called us two years ago when the test was last given.  She was going to have her child opt-out of the third grade English Language Assessment and she was going to rely on one of the good cause exemptions.  Her daughter’s reading comprehension was 1.5 years below grade level.  We explained that opting out would significantly increase the chances that her child would be retained in third grade. We shared that in a month, we could raise her child’s reading comprehension to the level required to get a Level 2 (i.e. Still below grade level, but high enough to beat third-grade retention).  By the start of the next school year, we thought it would be possible to get her child’s comprehension to grade level.

That is exactly what occurred.  After she enrolled her daughter into the 3D Learner Program® in mid-March,   her daughter got a Level 2 on the Third Grade English Language Assessment.  By that August, her daughter was reading at grade level.

We may be able to do this for your child.

Call us at 561-361-7495 to discuss any issue or idea related to Third Grade Retention Or click here to set-up a  Beat Third Grade Retention Strategy Session. You can call or set-up the Strategy Session for a child in another grade, too

Opting out of the Third Grade English Language Assessment raises the risk for 3rd Grade Retention

 Three options to beat retention:

  • Completing a student portfolio. This is a series of shorter tests. If your child is at risk for third-grade retention — the law allows you to request a student portfolio at any time.   If you have not done it yet, we recommend asking that a portfolio be started ASAP. Florida Third Grade Retention is guided by Senate Bill 1008.25.  One of the points in the law is that:  “A parent of a student in grade 3 who has identified anytime during the year as being at risk of retention may request that the school immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
  • Passing an end of the school year or end of summer test — these require your child to be closer to the 45th percentile — doable for some with training, but much harder than getting a Level 2 on the English Language Assessment
  • Having your child read at grade level by the start of the next school year

Note, passing the end of year, end of summer tests or getting to grade level are all much harder to achieve than getting a Level 2 on the English Language Assessment.  We recommend to virtually every parent whose child is at risk for retention to have your child take the test and to start a portfolio ASAP, as a backup plan.

If you want to better understand your options call us at 561-361-7495 for a no-cost Stress to Third Grade Success Strategy Session or click here to arrange a Stress to Third Grade Success Strategy Session

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