students would be retained under state Read by 3 Law
years of worry and preparation by school districts across the state, last
spring Michigan finally announced the threshold for when students might be
retained in third grade starting with this year’s class.
the rate is only about 5 percent of students who could be held back.
is far lower than the more than half of third graders who score “not
proficient” on the English section of the Michigan Student Test of Educational
Progress (M-STEP). The spring M-STEP scores
were released late last month.
the Read by Third Grade Law, adopted in 2016, students who score more than a
year behind in reading at the end of third grade will be recommended to repeat
that grade. There are several exceptions
for why students would still be allowed to continue to fourth grade.
most students who rank as not proficient on the M-STEP at the end of third
grade are still reading close enough to grade level by the state’s standards to
continue to fourth grade.
at the spring M-STEP scores in Dearborn Public Schools, only 30 students out of
more than 1,400 in third grade would have had scores low enough to be
recommended for retention. However, most
of those students would have automatically qualified for an exemption because
they are still in their first few years of learning English or because they are
in special education.
can qualify to advance for other reasons too, such as transferring from a
school that did not provide reading support or proving they were proficient
through a complicated alternative process.
will not know the exact impact of the law until spring, after the current third
graders take the M-STEP and the first retention letters are mailed to parents. However, looking at prior classes should
provide a good approximation of how many students will be affected.
the beginning, educators have argued the law was not in the best interest of
students. Studies show retaining students ultimately increases the risk they
will drop out before graduating.
will continue our dedicated strategy to ensuring every student can read at
grade level,” said Executive Director of Student Achievement Jill Chochol, who
has spearheaded the district’s Read by 3 efforts. Last year, Superintendent Glenn Maleyko
commissioned a community Read by Third Grade Task Force to look more at how the
community could be involved in addressing the law and reading education in
the law as passed, the District has made a number of related changes from increasing
teacher training on reading to providing even more monitoring and support for
struggling students. Elementary teachers
and administrators also developed plans for their schools.
said, we are relieved that this law will not have the widespread punitive
impact we feared for our students,” Chochol added.
Dearborn Public Schools M-STEP scores are similar to the state average, even
while the district has a higher level of low-income students.
last spring’s tests, Dearborn Public Schools held steady with 47 percent of
third graders scoring proficient in English, compared to the statewide rate of
District dipped less than a percentage point to 28 percent for the total number
of students proficient in math and English in grades 3 to 8. Those are the grades covered by the
MSTEP. Statewide the total was 30
percent of students proficient in all grades.
District’s four-year high school graduation rate held at 95 percent compared to
the state’s 81 percent, while the District’s average SAT score was 964.
number of 11th grade students proficient on M-STEP in all subjects leapt 12
points to 27 percent on the spring test.
The statewide rate was 30 percent.
know that these tests, while important, are only one measure for our
students. Dearborn Public Schools tries
to take a more holistic approach and use multiple tools to ensure our students
are learning and achieving,” said Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko.