Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

IREAD-3 Results: Five Takeaways From Indiana's Statewide Reading Test

    Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

    Lisa Coughanowr, a kindergarten teacher at East Side Elementary in Brazil, reads aloud to her students. She asks questions about the story to check their understanding.

    About 86 percent of Indiana third graders passed a statewide reading exam in March that will allow them to advance to fourth grade.

    That’s a slight improvement from last year — the first time the IREAD-3 was administered — when slightly more than 84 percent of Indiana third graders passed the test.

    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.


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