About 86 percent of Indiana third graders passed a statewide reading exam in March that will allow them to advance to fourth grade.
More than 11,800 students will have to retake the IREAD-3 this summer or risk retention.
We’ve posted complete statewide results of the exam to two easily-searchable tables. You can find results for your school or your district. (This year’s data also includes results for non-public schools.)
State education officials released the results with little fanfare. Superintendent Glenda Ritz has been fiercely critical of the high-stakes exam, citing it as the primary reason she ran against former schools chief Tony Bennett in November.
Ritz, a former teacher who worked as a media specialist in Washington Township, has said repeatedly Indiana needs to rethink how it handles students who aren’t reading at grade level.
“If you’re asking if I want the state of Indiana to get in the retention business, which is what it is now, the answer is no,” Ritz told StateImpact a public event in April. “I don’t think I have any business keeping a retention list at the state of Indiana and forcing those children to take a third grade test when, in actuality, the school corporation could move that child on to fourth grade.”
Here are five takeaways about this year’s results on Indiana’s statewide reading exam:
- It’s unclear how many of the 11,700 students who did not pass last year were ultimately retained. Students who did not pass the IREAD-3 in March 2012 had the opportunity to retake the test over the summer. If they did not pass on the second try, they had to qualify for a “good cause exemption” (typically, awarded to English language learners and students enrolled in special education) or take the test as again this spring as a third grader. But we don’t know how many students who took the test last year also took it this year.
- More than 79 percent of students who receive free or reduced lunch passed IREAD-3. The measure, which typically indicates poverty, shows how socioeconomic factors can impact scores. But many schools in high-poverty areas still have higher-than-average pass rates. At Washington Elementary in Fort Wayne, where nearly all students receive free or reduced lunch, 94 percent passed the IREAD-3.
- The pass rate for charter schools continues to trail the state average. In total, 75.9 percent of students in 52 charter schools passed the IREAD-3 compared to 86 percent of all students statewide. But that’s an improvement from last year, when 71 percent of charter school students passed the state test.
- Non-public schools did very well on the IREAD-3. Nearly 95 percent of students at the state’s private schools passed the statewide reading test, including 75 where the pass rate was 100 percent. (We don’t have non-public schools data from 2012.)
- More than 30 public schools reported pass rates of 100 percent. That includes three that were below the state average last year — Carl G. Fisher Elementary in Speedway, Wolf Lake Elementary and Shelburn Elementary. Last year, 21 public schools reported 100 percent pass rates.