Florida Third grade retention policies were first put in place in 2002.
We see several challenges with the advice that parents often get:
1- Parents are often told to have the child opt-out of the third grade English Language Assessment. This actually raises the chances for retention.
2- Other parents will be told to pull their child out of public or charter schools. Home schooling and private schools are ways to avoid the issue, but …
3- What parents are often not told is that their child is 1.5 to 2.5 years below grade level in reading comprehension.
The good news is that this gap can often be closed. Below is a case of where:
- The parents were going to opt-out of the third grade test — this actually makes third grade retention more likely
- The parents invested in the 3D Learner Program (R) and their daughter:
- Scored high enough a month later to be promoted
- Was comprehending at grade level by the start of the next school year
At 3D Learner, we have focused on Success by Third Grade for the last 10 years.
If you have any questions or would like help – call us at 561-361-7495.
We have helped many parents to understand their risks, to then avoid Florida third retention and to help get their child’s reading comprehension back to grade level or above.
Senate Bill 1008.25 is the Florida law that covers Florida third grade retention and what a parent must be informed of.
At the bottom of this post is the specific wording from the portion on “Reading Deficiency and Parental Notification that covers third grade retention and what a parent must be informed of.
Given this is written in early March, the last point in the post is especially important — the wording is:
A parent of a student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as being at risk of retention may request that the school immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
We encourage parents whose child is identified at risk for retention immediately request the school immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
Note, to be promoted a third grade student must either:
- Score a Level 2 or higher on the third grade English Language Assessment
- Meet one of the Good Cause Exemptions
Note, all the Good Cause Exemptions are harder to achieve than getting a Level 2 on the Third Grade English Language Assessment. The good news is that a student may be able to:
- Achieve Level 2 with intensive short term help
- Improve his or her reading comprehension to grade level with a concerted effort over the next 4 to 6 months
3 Keys to Beat Florida Third Grade Retention
1- Have your child do well on the third grade English Language Assessment. Some people recommend parents opt out of the testing. We respect their opinion, but all the good cause exemptions are much harder to achieve. Opting out does reduce the short term anxiety but it also increases the chances for grade retention.
2- If you have received notice that third grade retention is a risk, put a request in writing for a portfolio to be initiated ASAP.
3- By far the best choice is to:
- Immediately request a portfolio
- Have your child take the test
- Find the right help to get your child to grade level or above
Most students at risk for Florida Third Grade Retention:
- Learn differently than the way schools teach — that is, they learn best when he or she sees and experiences information
- Have some combination of attention, eye-teaming, anxiety and/or related issues
- Can do far better when he or she is taught to their strengths and when their challenges are identified and addressed.
Achieve Success by Third Grade
If this sounds like your child, take our no cost Success Assessment with your child. You will get immediate feedback and then you can call us for a no cost Stress to Success Strategy Session at 561-361-7495.
If you would prefer, just call 3D Learner at 561-361–7495
Below are the critical sections from Senate Bill 1008.25 that discuss the reading challenges and the Florida Third Grade Retention law.
(5) READING DEFICIENCY AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION.—
(a) Any student in kindergarten through grade 3 who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading based upon screening, diagnostic, progress monitoring, or assessment data; statewide assessments; or teacher observations must be provided intensive, explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading interventions immediately following the identification of the reading deficiency. A school may not wait for a student to receive a failing grade at the end of a grading period to identify the student as having a substantial reading deficiency and initiate intensive reading interventions. The student’s reading proficiency must be monitored and the intensive interventions must continue until the student demonstrates grade level proficiency in a manner determined by the district, which may include achieving a Level 3 on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment. The State Board of Education shall identify by rule guidelines for determining whether a student in kindergarten through grade 3 has a substantial deficiency in reading.
(b) To be promoted to grade 4, a student must score a Level 2 or higher on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment required under s. 1008.22 for grade 3. If a student’s reading deficiency is not remedied by the end of grade 3, as demonstrated by scoring Level 2 or higher on the statewide, standardized assessment required under s. 1008.22 for grade 3, the student must be retained.
(c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph
(a), must be notified in writing of the following:
1. That his or her child has been identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading, including a description and explanation, in terms understandable to the parent, of the exact nature of the student’s difficulty in learning and lack of achievement in reading.
2. A description of the current services that are provided to the child.
3. A description of the proposed intensive interventions and supports that will be provided to the child that are designed to remediate the identified area of reading deficiency.
4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
5. Strategies, including multisensory strategies, through a read-at-home plan the parent can use in helping his or her child succeed in reading.
6. That the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment is not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for grade promotion.
7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for a portfolio as provided in subparagraph (6)(b)4. and the evidence required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s academic standards for English Language Arts. A parent of a student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as being at risk of retention may request that the school immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.