Perhaps you have heard buzz around your child’s school about a new reading program that was implemented by the state. The Read to Achieve program is a part of the Excellent Public Schools Act which became law in 2012 and has been applied to all North Carolina schools beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. The purpose is to improve overall reading achievement across the state. However, there are a lot of components that make up this new law. It can be quite overwhelming to understand so here is a breakdown of what it all means and how it applies to your child.
Beginning in Kindergarten, every child will be evaluated in five areas: language and literacy, cognition and general knowledge, approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social/ emotional development. This creates a Child Profile which is the beginning piece of the K-3 assessments. It is a learning tool for teachers to learn about your child and help guide instruction.
Throughout K-3, children continue to be evaluated through formative and diagnostic testing. Personalized Education Plans (goals for a student to work on while in the regular setting) are also created.
Then there is 3rd grade, the big year. Students are assessed at the beginning and middle of the year via the mClass Reading 3D assessments (a web-based system which provides instructional feedback to teachers and parents). These assessments also help create the reading portfolio which with enough evidence and documentation included can help promote a child. At the end of the year, the final assessment administered is the End of Grade (EOG) reading assessment. If a student is proficient on the initial EOG or on the retake, then they are automatically promoted to the 4th grade. However, if they do not pass; this is where it begins to get complicated (if it hasn’t already…).
A child may qualify for a “good cause exemption,” which then allows them to be promoted. These exemptions are: Limited English Proficient, students with disabilities, students who demonstrate proficiency on an approved State Board of Education alternate reading assessment, proficiency on the student reading portfolio, or children who have received reading intervention and who have been previously retained more than once in K-3. (Quite a list, right?)
If your child does not qualify for any of these exemptions, then your child is enrolled in a summer reading camp. It is the parent’s decision as to whether or not they want their child to participate in the camp. (If you do not enroll your child, they will automatically be retained in 3rd grade.) Throughout the camp, your child continues to work on their reading portfolio and comprehension skills. The completion of the portfolio or the passing of the reading comprehension Read to Achieve test will then allow your child to be promoted to the 4th grade.
However, if your child is still deemed not proficient, then they are retained in 3rd grade. Throughout that year, your child will be placed in a 3/4 transition class with reading remediation or they will be pulled out for reading support. There is an opportunity for a mid-year promotion by completion of the portfolio or passing the Read to Achieve reading comprehension test. If they pass, they are then able to continue with 4th grade curriculum and the Retention label is removed. If your child does not pass, they remain in their current setting with the intensive reading support.
I know this is a lot of information with a lot of “If this… then this…” but hopefully it provides some clarification to this new law. Check out this link for a flow chart (very helpful!) and more detailed information: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/k-3literacy/resources/guidebook.pdf