Yancey Board of Education Approves Reading Assessment Plan
Monday night the Yancey County Schools Board of Education approved the use of a locally-developed alternate assessment plan to show reading proficiency for 3rd graders enrolled in YCS in order to meet the strict guidelines of the NC General Assembly’s Read to Achieve legislation. This is in response to the NC State Board of Education approving thirty (30) different LEA requests from around the state to use alternative assessments in showing reading proficiency for 3rd grade students and maintain compliance with the legislation. The State Board approved the use of the thirty plans by any school system in the state as long as the local board of education would attest to the reliability and validity of the alternate assessment to be used and approve its use. The LEA would then have to inform the NC State Board of Education as well as the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction about their intent in using an alternate assessment plan.
The YCS Board of Education approved an alternate assessment plan that is a hybrid of two other approved plans. The YCS plan would require a 3rd grade student to be at a Level P (end of 3rd grade level) on the TRC (Total Reading Comprehension) component of the Reading 3D Assessment and have an Instructional Reading Level (IRL) of 3.0 on the STAR Reading Test by the end of the school year in order to show proficiency. “YCS feels very confident in our local alternative plan for several reasons,” said Shane Cassida, YCS Curriculum/Instruction Director. “One, we ran all the testing metrics on these two tests and are assured that they provide valid and reliable results in terms of showing reading proficiency. Two, the tests are correlated well together in that they seem to agree in identifying which students indeed are at grade level and which students are requiring some additional support. Finally, this will not take any additional time away from classroom instruction as 3rd grade teachers were already giving and is a rare case of a win-win for all involved.”
The “local alternative” now becomes the fifth way 3rd grade students can show they are reading on grade level by the end of the school year. The other four pathways to proficiency include:
- passing score on the 3rd Grade Beginning of Grade (BOG) Reading Test – given in August 2013
- passing score on the upcoming 3rd Grade End of Grade (EOG) Reading Test – given in June 2014
- passing score on the NC Read to Achieve Alternate Reading Test – to be given in June 2014 if EOG is not passed
- completion of the NC Read to Achieve Reading Portfolio – started February 1
Students only need to show proficiency in one of these pathways. If students are not able to do so by the end of the 3rd grade year, they will be required to attend a six-week Summer Reading Camp to work on their reading skills before transitioning to the 4th grade. The other “good causes” that exempt a student from the requirements of Read to Achieve include students in the Exceptional Children’s program that are being taught with an alternate curriculum plan (Extend 1 or Extend 2).
“Having this additional pathway to proficiency will help students show their reading proficiency in a manner other than a one-day, high stakes testing environment. Some students just do not perform well in those circumstances and are not able to truly show their academic progress over that year,” says Dr. Tony Tipton, Superintendent of Yancey County Schools. “This will also allow YCS to truly identify those students in most need of the reading support in the Summer Reading Camp. By serving fewer students in the camp, we will be able to provide more direct, individualized instruction for those students most in need. We are in fact excited about the camp and look forward to helping our students succeed.”
All 3rd grade students will still be required to take the 3rd Grade EOG Reading Test in June, even if they have previously shown proficiency in one of the other pathways. The results of that test are used to insure that a student is making adequate growth during a school year, and they are used as an accountability measure for both the teacher and the school. “Therefore, it is imperative that students continue to work hard to reach their maximum learning potential,” said Cassida. “We really need parents to encourage students throughout the year to make sure they reach this potential because we all stand to gain by doing so. Student success happens best when we are cooperating partners pulling in the same direction.”
If parents have questions regarding these latest changes to the Read to Achieve legislation or about their child’s academic progress in general, please contact their child’s teacher and set up an appointment to discuss this.