Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

After This Summer’s Retakes, How Indiana Students Fared On The State’s Third Grade Reading Test

A student listens in as teacher Amy Swafford reads aloud to her third grade class at Bloomington's Clear Creek Elementary School.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

A student listens to teacher Amy Swafford reading aloud to her third grade class at Bloomington's Clear Creek Elementary School in January 2012.

Nine out of every 10 Indiana third graders passed the state’s high-stakes reading skills exam in 2013, state education officials announced Wednesday.

Including this summer’s retakes, 91.1 percent of students passed the IREAD-3 test in 2013, up from the mark of 90.6 percent passing in 2012, the first year third graders took the exam.

More than 11,000 Indiana public school students did not pass the exam on their first try in March, meaning they risked having to repeat the third grade if they didn’t pass the exam on their second attempt over the summer.

The numbers released Wednesday show 7,100 students still had not passed the test after their second attempt.

Local school officials can decide whether to place students who did not pass the IREAD-3 in a third- or fourth-grade classroom, but state rules say these students must take the ISTEP+ and IREAD-3 as third graders.

“I want to thank the many educators and families who are making reading proficiency a priority throughout Indiana,” Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz said in a statement released to the media as the State Board of Education began its meeting this morning. “I am committed to a strong focus on literacy K-12, which is a key indicator of student success.”

State board member Dan Elsener read a statement at the meeting congratulating the state’s teachers and students for their success on the IREAD-3.

“Ensuring students can read by the end of third grade is a goal we’ve had here,” Elsener said at the beginning of the meeting.

The number of students who were allowed to move on to fourth grade because they qualified for a “good cause exemption” decreased slightly from last year. (State rules allow schools to give exemptions to special education students and “English language learners.”)

Of the 79,000 Indiana students who took the exam, more than 3,800 students received a good cause exemption in 2013.

5,300 students received exemptions in 2012.

This post may be updated.


  • Jack Irsay

    I wanted to bring this to the attention of the boss of Kyle Stokes.

    My sources at the Indiana Department of Education say that Mr. Stokes acted very unprofessionally while in the overflow room for the State Board of Education meeting. He talked loudly on his cell phone while others were trying to follow the meeting, he argued loudly with Daniel Altman about IREAD3, and when the video feed dropped, he stood up, threw his hands in the air, and yelled that his life is being ruined.

    This is immature and arrogant behavior from Mr. Stokes. He needs to clean up his act next time he goes out in public.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Karynb9

      I’m going to guess that his boss doesn’t troll the comments section around here very much looking for feedback to stick on Kyle’s evaluation. If you’re that concerned about it, look for an email address or phone number and send his boss a private message. It took all of thirty seconds for me to find a big staff directory complete with email addresses on this website. Throwing your criticism out here in public under the pretense of “just letting his boss know” while using a pseudonym could also be classified as pretty immature and arrogant behavior on your own part.

  • Jack Irsay

    That’s weird. I used my real name. I challenge you to do the same.

    After sleeping on it, I realized I probably should have addressed my concerns not to the bosses, but to the readers. As readers assess the credibility of the stories they read on this website, one of the factors they will want to consider is the appalling public behavior by Stokes. He has so little self-awareness. Everyone else yesterday acted professionally during the meeting, but he was a spoiled brat.

    • Karynb9

      What does that have to do with the credibility of the stories written? He’s not writing advice columns about etiquette.

      Stop trolling.

      • Jack Irsay

        It’s a question of judgment. Stokes has very poor judgment, and that means I don’t trust what he writes.

        No different than the impact on the public perception of Bill Clinton as a result of his escapades with Monica, Eliot Spitzer and prostitutes, Weiner and sexting, etc., etc. Judgment matters.


        • Karynb9

          It’s not even close to being the same thing. Stokes isn’t an elected official who is tasked with passing laws, enforcing laws, or even being the public face of our nation. Whether or not he displays good judgment has nothing to do with his ability to write the who-what-where-when-and-how of education stories in this state. He could snort cocaine off the backs of hookers every Saturday night and it would have nothing to do with his judgment as a reporter on Monday morning.

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