Aurora -- The local school district fared well in its initial October reading test for third-graders, as 80.2 percent of the 202 students who took the test were rated proficient or above.

Of that 80 percent, 38.6 percent scored in the "advanced" range and 18.6 percent scored in the "accelerated" range.

"We're proud of teachers and our students for a job well done," said Aurora Superintendent Russ Bennett. "We continue to work hard to ensure our students perform well. With new standards and new testing paradigms, all districts are working hard to meet the new demands.

"We know when students are good readers, they perform better in school and ultimately in life. We challenge each of our students to read each day.

"We also know that parents who promote reading in their homes, find that their children are better readers and do well in school," he said. "This partnership between school and home certainly is evident in Aurora as exhibited by these scores."

Aurora topped Portage County in proficiency. The next highest Portage district was Streetsboro 69.1 percent proficient or above, followed by Kent at 65.5 percent, Field at 63 percent, Waterloo at 61.1 percent and Crestwood at 60 percent.

In a grouping of other high-achieving districts in Northeast Ohio, Revere achieved 87.8 percent proficiency, Kenston was at 85 percent, Chardon at 83.3 percent, Twinsburg at 81.9 percent and Chagrin Falls at 81.3 percent.

Statewide, more than half of third-graders -- 56 percent -- scored high enough on the test to meet state requirements to advance a grade level next year,

The assessments are connected to legislation signed into law last year by Gov. John Kasich that requires third-graders to be held back if they are not able to read at an appropriate level.

The new law also calls for reading assessments of students starting in kindergarten, with increased identification and parental notification of deficiencies and targeted teaching intervention for struggling students.

Students have several opportunities to pass the reading test. Two assessments are given during the school year, with another offered to affected students during the summer.

Bennett said the district provides interventioin in the classroom, through tutors, before school and during the summer. "We try to identify concerns at the earliest of ages," he said.

Those who don't meet third-grade reading proficiency are retained, with requirements for 90 minutes of reading instruction per school day.

The Ohio Department of Education said students can take fourth-grade classes in other subjects or advance midyear to that grade if their reading scores improve.


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