More states requiring third-graders to pass reading test to advance

Mar 11, 2013 by

A growing number of states are drawing a hard line in elementary school, requiring children to pass a reading test in third grade or be held back from fourth grade.

Thirteen states last year adopted laws that require schools to identify, intervene and, in many cases, retain students who fail a reading proficiency test by the end of third grade. Lawmakers in several other states and the District are debating similar measures.

Not every state requires retention; some allow schools to promote struggling readers to fourth grade as long as they are given intensive help.


Advocates of the new tough-love policies say social promotion — advancing students based on age and not academic achievement — results in high-schoolers who can barely read, let alone land a job or attend college. Literacy problems are best addressed at an early age, they say.

Critics say the policies reflect an accountability movement that has gone haywire, creating high-stakes tests for 8-year-olds. The child, not the school, bears the brunt of the problem, they say, pointing to research that shows that the academic benefits of repeating a grade fade with time while the stigma can haunt children into adulthood.

via More states requiring third-graders to pass reading test to advance – The Washington Post.

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