he Department of Education has developed a new test for third grade students called IREAD. Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Knox Community School Corporation, Peggy Shidaker, talks about the IREAD test.
“It’s a little bit different from ISTEP in that IREAD measures only foundational reading skills that students should have acquired from Kindergarten through grade three.”
She was asked why the Department of Education formulated the test.
“Research has clearly shown that students who leave third grade with poor reading skills, their chances of succeeding are not optimal. Research, especially at first grade, shows that those students who have poor reading skills, they will never acquire the skills they need for success unless there is intensive intervention.”
She explains what happens if the student doesn’t pass the IREAD exam.
“According to the Department of Education in Indiana, if a student doesn’t pass IREAD in the Spring, first as a School Corporation, we have to provide them with remediation. We are actually making the plans to get that ready. The student has remediation and then that student has a second opportunity to take IREAD and that is during the summer.”
If the student doesn’t pass the second test, other measures will be taken.
“According to the Department of Education, this is what has to happen: First, the student must continue to receive instruction in grade three reading. Also, according to the State, that student will be classified as a third grader again next year and that student will have to participate fully in grade three ISTEP and IREAD next year.”
Miss Shidaker was asked if that student will be technically classified as a third grade student.
“That is a local decision and that is something that we at Knox Community School Corporation have been discussing. What will happen is we will have a case-by-case conference. We need to mention also that there some students who are what we consider having a Good Cause Exemption.”
She explains the different circumstances in which a student could be classified as Good Cause Exemption.
“If it is a student who has an IEP, which is our special needs students, they can receive what is called a Good Cause Exemption. That child can move to fourth grade. If that student has an ILP, that would be our students who would be considered English language learners, they, too, may receive a Good Cause Exemption and that child may move to fourth grade. All others, we need to take a look at and we need to see what is best for that child. Again, that will be input from our parents, our teachers and our administration.”
With all of the added pressure for third grade students to perform well on this test, Miss Shidaker offered these suggestions for parents.
“One of the best things a parent could do would be to read to their child. Sit down at night for 10 or 15 minutes and read together, read to the child a little bit – model good reading, and have the child read back to the parent. That would help the child’s fluency.”
The IREAD test will be administered the third week in March.