Third Grade Reading Guarantee Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What changes have been made to the 3rd grade promotion requirement for the 2020-2021 as a result of instructional changes due to COVID?

A. Ohio Department of Education’s Reset, Restart Education plan states: “Under newly enacted legislation for the 2020-2021 school year (Section 18 of House Bill 164 of the 133rd General Assembly), no district, community school, STEM school or chartered nonpublic school shall retain a student in the third grade who does not meet the promotion score of 683 on the Ohio’s State Test for grade 3 English language arts if the student’s principal and reading teacher agree that other evaluations of the student’s skills in reading demonstrate the student is academically prepared to be promoted to the fourth grade. This provision applies to students who are in third grade for the 2020-2021 school year and would be enrolling in the fourth grade for the 2021-2022 school year, unless retained.”

Q. When does the “Reading Guarantee” take effect?

A. Many of the components of S.B. 316 went into effect during the 2012-13 school year and the retention of third grade students will take effect during the 2013-14 school year. For the 2019-2020 school year, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee promotion score is 683. Any student who scores 683 or higher on the English language arts scaled score will be eligible for promotion at the end of the year.

Q. I don’t understand the district’s numbers regarding how many students passed the reading guarantee?  Why are the numbers different in different news sources?

A. Assessing a student’s ability to read or demonstrate mastery of a number of other skills is a complicated process.  Thankfully the Ohio Department of Education and State Legislature understood this fact and developed multiple options for how students could meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements. So this means that students and educators have options on how to demonstrate a student’s reading abilities.

The third grade promotion percentage will include students promoted who achieved the promotion score on Ohio’s grade 3 English language arts test and students promoted who achieved the alternate reading score on the reading portion of Ohio’s grade 3 English language arts test or on the STAR Reading Third Grade Proficiency Assessment.

Q. How are students exempt from this requirement?

A. Some students may be exempt from S.B. 316 including:

  • special education students whose Individualized Education Plan (IEP) exempts them from the retention requirement;
  • students with limited proficiency in English and who have been enrolled in schools in the United States for less than three full years; and,
  • students who receive intensive remediation for two years and who were previously retained in kindergarten through third grade.

If you have specific questions about your student’s individual circumstances, please feel free to contact your student’s school.

Q. So if my student is retained in third grade for reading, what about their other subjects?

A. Hilliard City Schools has strategically staffed teachers with the credentials that are necessary so that a student who does not meet the reading requirements to move on to fourth grade reading, can still be part of the fourth grade classroom in all other subjects.

Q. How is Hilliard City Schools making sure students are reading at grade level by the third grade?

A. Hilliard City Schools is committed to helping all students succeed. The district already uses various methods to determine if students, beginning as early as kindergarten, need additional literacy support including differentiated classroom instruction, intervention and tutoring. These efforts have led to Hilliard Schools’ students demonstrating more academic growth in a single school year than most school districts in Ohio.

Q. What can I do at home to help make sure my child is developing strong literacy skills?
A. Parents are an important part of the learning process and Hilliard City Schools welcomes their partnership. Encouraging students to develop an interest in books and literacy is very important. Therefore Hilliard has created an online literacy help page. You can find suggested books and tips on reading by visiting Growing Readers. When parents demonstrate a strong interest in reading, students are more likely to model that behavior. Finding books, magazines or articles on topics that capture your child’s attention and reading them together can be a great start.

Q. Where can I find additional information?

A. The Ohio Department of Education has some materials available through the Ohio Department of Education’s Family Resource website related to S.B. 316 and literacy support.

Q. Can the law be changed?

A. Hilliard City Schools has been very clear that we do not believe it is in the best interest of every child to be retained in any grade level based upon a single assessment.  While retention may be necessary for some students, Hilliard Schools has demonstrated that intervention services are able to support student needs and facilitate academic growth in most cases.  We are continuing to engage with state legislators regarding these concerns and this specific section of the law.  Parents are also welcome to contact state legislators using the contact information listed below to express your opinion:

Ohio House of Representatives

Laura Lanese
District 23
77 S. High Street, 11th Floor
Columbus, Ohio  43215
(614) 466-9690

Jim Hughes
District 24
77 S. High Street, 13th Floor
Columbus, Ohio  43215
(614) 466-8012

Mike Duffey
District 21
77 S. High Street, 13th Floor
Columbus, Ohio  43215
(614) 644-6030

Bill Dean
District 74
77 S. High Street, 12th Floor
Columbus, OH  43215
(614) 466-1470

 Ohio Senate

Stephanie Kunze
District 16
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor
Columbus, Ohio  43215
(614) 466-5981