Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

July 25, 2013

Reading test only a piece

The state Board of Education’s year-old policy to hold back any third-grader who can’t read seems, at first glance, like a good idea. After all, a child who can’t read is unlikely to succeed in school. Passing such a child on to the next grade would seem to be asking for trouble.

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who proposed ending “social promotion” of third-graders during his 2010 State of the State address, had a point when he said sending an illiterate child on to the fourth grade is unfair to the next teacher and perhaps even disastrous for the child. Educators freely admit that when a teenager finally loses interest in education, the problem can often be traced back to the child’s failure to master reading in elementary school.

The seeds of any child’s eventual success or failure are often planted young.

Still, it’s important to avoid simple solutions to complex problems.

Can we really conclude that a child is illiterate based solely on his or her performance on a single test? No one reading test should be that important.

Wednesday, we reported more than 200 area third-graders failed the IREAD-3 exam on their first try. At Kokomo School Corp., 1 in 3 third-graders failed the test in March.

But Kokomo school officials told us nearly all of their third-graders, 98 percent, passed the IREAD exam after remediation. They said students told them they didn’t know how to finish the test this past spring, which was administered for the first time online.

Most of the students told their teachers they didn’t understand how to scroll down to read the entire text, or even how to move from one question to the next.

Local educators urged the state to leave the decisions about which students should be held back in local hands. Judging from Kokomo’s experience with the online exam, shouldn’t we then look at each child individually, examining the factors and bits of data that say whether a child might benefit from another year in the third grade?

There are other ways to help struggling students catch up.

Every child deserves a chance at success, and we should be doing everything we can to make sure students don’t become frustrated and drop out before they finish high school.

But there are no quick fixes.

The state should give schools the tools they need to help students succeed, but it shouldn’t tie their hands with arbitrary requirements.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Keep eye out for kids

    With most local schools welcoming students in a couple of weeks — and Kokomo schools beginning class Aug. 5 (yes, a week from this coming Tuesday) — it’s important for motorists to think about safe driving as children travel to and from school.Law en

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • LETTERS: Let's hope 7th Circuit sides with couples Let’s hope 7th Circuit sides with couplesIf you blinked over the past month, you probably missed some news about marriage equality in Indiana.First, a federal court ruled that the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples was unconstitutional, whi

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Bush? Clinton? Next, please

    Here comes a sentence I don’t usually find myself typing: I agree with Barbara Bush on something. Jan. 20, C-SPAN aired her installment in the series “First Ladies: Influence and Image,” which was filmed at Bush’s Houston home. “Do you think there is room for another Bush in The White House?” asked host Peter Slen. “This is a great American country, a great country, and if we can’t find more than two or three families to run for high office, that’s silly, because there are great governors and great eligible people to run,” said Bush. “I think Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes; there are just more families than that.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • State aims at outbreaks More than 200 Western School Corp. students were vaccinated for chickenpox after an outbreak in March 2012.The virus was confirmed to have infected five fifth-graders, the Howard County Health Department reported. It acted quickly to prevent the infe

    July 22, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • LETTERS: Trust chemical, seed firms and the FDA? Trust chemical, seed firms and the FDA?Let’s see ... Mr. Don Villwock, Indiana Farm Bureau president, wants the FDA to define what genetically engineered foods are, and then he wants it to be optional or voluntary for food companies to tell consumers

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll