READ TO ACHIEVE ADVISORY GROUP ENDORSES RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE LAW
An advisory group of local educators - including third grade teachers and education association group representatives as well as parents - met last week to review the General Assembly’s Read to Achieve law and offered support to recommendations for improving the law’s impact on students and teachers.
Read to Achieve, passed by the General Assembly in 2012 as part of the state’s overall budget bill, requires third graders to demonstrate reading proficiency in order to be promoted to fourth grade. The law offers a variety of options to demonstrate reading proficiency, and local school districts have some discretion in how they use the options. The law has created widespread concern that complying with the requirements spelled out in the legislation has created unintended consequences, including significant time spent on student assessments to ensure that teachers and principals have enough information to make good decisions about promotion or retention for students who do not pass the traditional end-of-grade reading test.
“Read to Achieve was developed with the goal of all children becoming good readers by the end of third grade,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “I think we all agree with that goal, but after some months of implementation, we see how the law could be improved to allow teachers and students to spend more effort on teaching and learning instead of on assessments.”
The Advisory Group, convened by State Superintendent June Atkinson, agreed on several recommendations to bring forward to lawmakers during their 2014 session.
- Reduce the number of required passages in the portfolio option to show reading proficiency. This would trim the amount of time being spent on this assessment process.
- Provide flexibility to local school districts regarding details of the summer reading camps required for students who are not reading proficiently at end of third grade.
- Allow school districts to have balanced school calendars to avoid summer reading loss.
- Treat charter schools and non-charter public schools equitably. Currently, charter schools are not held to the same standards under this law.
- Count the 2013-14 school year as a trial run year for Read to Achieve.
To view the Read to Achieve law, access the budget bill here http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/Bills/House/PDF/H950v7.pdf (pdf, 1.1mb) and see page 38. The Guide to Read to Achieve developed by NCDPI is available at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/k-3literacy/resources/.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.