‘Third-class’ kids are falling behind

Mar 30, 2013 by

More than 2,200 public school 8- and 9-year-olds flunked third grade last year — the highest number to be held back in six years, new data show.

This means the Department of Education compelled nearly 4.4 percent of last year’s third-grade class to repeat the grade this school year.

By contrast, no other grade in elementary or middle school had more than 2.4 percent of students held back in 2012 — making it the second straight year that third-graders landed in the bottom of the pack.

In 2011, 4.2 percent of the third-grade class was held back a grade.

Department of Education officials attributed the third-graders’ woes in part to the fact that it’s the first grade in which they’re exposed to high-stakes exams — making it likelier that they may bomb the tests.

As a result of Mayor Bloomberg’s crackdown on so-called “social promotion,” city students in grades 3 to 8 must score at least a 2 out of a 4 on the state’s annual math and reading exams in order to be promoted to the next grade.

Those who score a 1 on either exam are sent to summer school. They can then be promoted either by boosting their exam score or by gathering a portfolio of their class work that demonstrates they’re ready.

In eighth grade, course grades are also a factor in promotion.

Overall last summer, nearly 26,000 students in grades 3 to 8 were mandated to summer school.

By August, 71 percent of them had met the promotion criteria, while 29 percent — or 7,540 students — were mandated to repeat a grade.

Asked what the city was doing to boost the performance of struggling third-graders, a Department of Education spokeswoman said officials were providing the option of summer school to a higher percentage of them in order to get them on track for future grades.

She said many schools give kids “formative assessments” to get them used to taking standardized exams, but refuted suggestions that the third-grade exams are more difficult than those in the higher grades.

Statewide, more third-graders scored a Level 1 on the math and reading exams in 2012 than in any other grade. The city is one of the few districts that uses those exams as a benchmark for being promoted.

Missing from the DOE’s analysis of the 2012 summer-school results was a breakdown of whether students were promoted because of their test scores, course grades or portfolio of work.

This year’s three-page analysis was much shorter and released much later in the school year than normal. Last school year, the agency put out a 7-page report in December, while in 2010, the DOE put out a 24-page analysis just one month after summer school ended.

via Third-graders forced to repeat a grade this year at a much higher rate than students in any other grade – NYPOST.com.

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