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TPS: Summer Reading Program Ends With Disappointing Results

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More than 1,100 TPS third graders failed the state's reading test that determined whether they would move on to fourth grade. More than 1,100 TPS third graders failed the state's reading test that determined whether they would move on to fourth grade.
At the end of the summer session, 470 students took the second exam - but only four passed - moving on to fourth grade. At the end of the summer session, 470 students took the second exam - but only four passed - moving on to fourth grade.
“It's very low, very low. It's very discouraging,” said TPS Chief Academic Officer, Tracy Bayles. “It's very low, very low. It's very discouraging,” said TPS Chief Academic Officer, Tracy Bayles.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

For the second time, hundreds of Tulsa Public School students failed a reading test that determines if they move on to fourth grade.

More than 1,100 TPS third graders failed a similar test in April. Less than half of those students took the second test and only four passed. That means there are 600 students at risk of having to repeat third grade.

The results are disappointing to say the least, and letters are in the mail letting parents know if their child passed or failed test number two. Now, TPS is focusing on how to get more students to fourth grade.

5/21/2014 Related Story: TPS Using Summer To Prepare Third Graders For Next Grade

“It's very low, very low. It's very discouraging,” said TPS Chief Academic Officer, Tracy Bayles.

When the second round of reading test results came in, Bayles couldn't believe what she was seeing.

“How can that be? The students have had an additional four weeks of intervention,” she said.

Tulsa Public Schools offered free summer school for the 1,128 third graders who failed the first reading test back in April, but only about half of those students took advantage of the extra help.

At the end of the summer session, 470 students took the second exam - but only four passed - moving on to fourth grade.

“Every student can be successful,” said Bayles. “We want them to be placed where they will be successful, where they can grow, and that might be going back to third grade again.”

She said the second test was very different from the original exam. She said the state picked an alternative test with curriculum based off national standards, rather than Oklahoma standards.

“What we did find was that had the students that were in the summer school program, had they taken the test that they took back in April in 3rd grade, 81 of those students would have passed on to fourth grade,” Bayles said.

She said many students were just one question away from passing. A literacy team is recommending those students, and about 280 others, advance to fourth grade based off the great improvements they made over the summer that couldn't be calculated on a test.

There are also 225 students who failed but won't be held back due to exemptions.

Bayles said, “We can't just promote everybody and we can't retain everybody. We have to look at kids individually.”

She said many students, especially those from low-income families, start school with a very low vocabulary. That means, Bayles said, teachers are trying to play catch up from the beginning.

The goal now is to fill in the gaps before third grade.

“It has certainly brought attention to the importance of reading. It's brought attention to our students and attention for parents about how important it is,” Bayles said.

The students who failed the second time around can retake the exam one more time in August.

Keep in mind, there are still nearly 700 students who didn't retake the test and must do so in order to move on.

The dates to retake the test are:

  • August 7th for 3rd grade summer school students who were not assessed.
  • August 12th for 3rd grade summer school students who are eligible for a second alternative assessment.
  • August 13th and 14th for 3rd grade students who did not attend summer school.

School starts August 22nd for TPS.

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