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State Finds One In Three Dayton Students Fails Third Grade Reading Test

Nearly nine out of ten Ohio third graders have passed the state’s third grade reading test, which allows them to move on to fourth grade—but Dayton scored among the worst in the state.

Eighty-eight percent of the 110,000 kids who took the test statewide passed this spring. That’s up from a little over 63 percent who passed the test in the fall.

“So many districts, so many superintendents, so many principals, educators, parents, worked very hard to implement programs to help...these students become better readers, and we’re seeing some of the results of that,” says John Charlton with the Ohio Department of Education. He says the preliminary test in October was a wake-up call.

The lowest score among the big eight urban districts came from Cleveland Municipal School district, with Dayton close behind. The state found just 65.2 percent of Dayton students passed the test, although the Dayton Daily News reports the district calculated its numbers differently. Cincinnati scored the best of the big eight districts, with nearly 82 percent of kids passing. Overall, charter school students performed worse than the third graders in traditional public schools.

Students must pass the third grade reading guarantee to move on to fourth grade. Kids who failed have two more opportunities to take it this summer, and they can still be promoted during the school year if they get the required score.

When she took office earlier in 2014, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said she would make education her focus. She established a 50-person “City of Learners” committee to strategize about improving public, public charter and private school education across the city, particularly at the elementary level. So far, no major initiatives have come out of that committee.  

WYSO's Lewis Wallace contributed reporting.