Tulsa Third Graders, Parents Wait For State Test Results

Friday, May 9th 2014, 10:43 pm

Almost 8,000 Oklahoma third graders are in danger of being held back after failing the state's reading test. One out of every three Tulsa third graders failed, but Superintendent Keith Ballard said some could still make it to fourth grade.

"Do some students need to be retained? Absolutely, some students need to be retained. Should all of them be automatically retained? No, they should not," said Tulsa Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard.

5/9/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools Administration Reacts To State Reading Scores

Union Schools had 20 percent of their students fail the test. It was nine percent in Broken Arrow, and Jenks, and Bixby scored the best among the suburban schools, with less than six percent failing.

Tulsa's Anderson Elementary had the worst scores in the city, with nearly two-thirds of the students failing, and while schools know how they scored, parents and students are still in the dark.

It's the sigh of relief almost every third grader in Oklahoma can relate to.

"I was like, ‘Ah! Finally I finished," said third grader Anthony Fisher Jr. "It took like two hours, so long."

The high stakes reading test may have felt long for Fisher, but it's nothing compared to the long wait to see his score.

"Just kind of nervous. If I didn't pass, I would have to be in third grade all over again," he said."

There's a chance 68 percent of Anthony's classmates may have to repeat third grade.

5/9/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools: 33 Percent Of District 3rd Graders Fail Reading Test

To get into fourth grade, failing students will have to get an exemption or pass a second reading exam after summer school.

When Anthony's father, Anthony Fisher Sr. found out the percentage, he said, "Wow, that's a lot. That's a lot."

Parent, Whitney Norwood, said, "It's kind of upsetting, it really is."

Anthony's parents said their son is a straight A student, with teachers who care, and shouldn't have to take all the heat over poor test results.

"When I come up here and volunteer, they have block schedule where they just stop and read," Norwood said.

"You can't put it all on the teachers because they're working hard," said Fisher Sr. "We it comes down to it, the parents really have to step up and study more with their kids during the off times of the school."

Studying after school is exactly what Anthony's parents make sure he does, and reading is a top priority.

"I read at least thirty minutes a day when I go home, and when I do homework, I get my mom to test me, like if it's math problems, I say, ‘OK, just ask me a few math questions,'" Anthony said.

His education isn't just about going on to the next grade; it's much more than that.

"So you'll learn, so you can fulfill the rest of life," he said.

Each school district in the state is going to have a different way of letting parents know about test scores.

TPS and Union will mail letters with scores to parents as soon as possible and the schools will discuss with parents and teachers what the next step will be. As it stands now, children can be promoted to fourth as long as they pass the test by November first.


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