News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 30, 2014

VCSC IREAD-3 scores are up this year

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County School Corp. IREAD-3 scores have improved this year, with 87.3 percent of third-graders passing.

Last year, 86.7 percent of VCSC third-grade students passed.

The Indiana Department of Education on Tuesday released local data for the spring 2014 IREAD 3 assessment.

 Earlier this month, the department released statewide results, with 85.6 percent of third-graders passing this year. Last year, 85.3 percent of third-graders passed.

VCSC surpassed the state average this year.

The 2014 VCSC passing rate of 87.3 percent “is very competitive with the 10 largest urban districts,” said Karen Goeller, deputy superintendent.

Pass rates for those districts are: Indianapolis Public (65.5 percent); Fort Wayne (74.5 percent); Evansville-Vanderburgh (79.6 percent); South Bend (72.9 percent); MSD Wayne (80.5 percent); MSD Lawrence (75.8 percent); MSD Perry (79.3 percent); Hammond (82.0 percent); and Elkhart (78.8 percent).  

For students who did not pass IREAD-3 this spring, third-grade classroom and resource teachers are providing daily literacy interventions that address IREAD-3, Goeller said.

Daily phonics instruction takes place during a scheduled 45-minute intervention/enrichment period, and comprehension strategies are taught during science and social studies periods, Goeller said.

In addition, the school district is offering a four-hour IREAD-3 Summer Intervention Program for 12 days in June. Teachers will provide instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and informational/literary text comprehension. 

Transportation will be provided from each elementary school site to Sarah Scott Middle School and back. Students will receive a free breakfast and lunch. After the summer program, the students will have the opportunity to re-test in an online format. 

The test, formally known as Indiana Reading Evaluation And Determination, is administered in March of each year. Students who fail the exam are required to undergo intensive remediation before being tested again in the summer.

Third-graders who don’t pass after the two attempts are required to retake third-grade versions of Indiana’s standardized test, ISTEP the following year, along with the IREAD-3 exam.

The legislation says students who fail the test may be held back a grade but only as “a last resort” if other remediation attempts fail.

Critics of the test, including the Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, have expressed concerns that retention does little to improve a student’s success.

But other education experts argue that students who leave third grade without being able to read at their grade level will fall further behind and be more likely to drop out in high school.