Third Grade Guarantee

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Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a program to identify students from kindergarten through grade 3 that are behind in reading. Schools will provide help and support to make sure students are on track for reading success by the end of third grade. The department provides policy guidance, instructional tools, and resources on the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.


How it Works: All students in grades K-3 are required to complete a reading diagnostic assessment to identify them as on-track or not on-track for reading progress by September 30 (grades 1-3) and November 1st for kindergarten students.  For those students identified as not on-track or not reading at grade level, schools must provide additional reading services or interventions. Students receiving additional reading interventions will be placed on a reading improvement plan that will address each student’s unique reading challenges to ensure successful learning outcomes.


Advancing to Fourth Grade: Students must meet the promotion score or a minimum reading sub-score on the state reading test to move on to fourth grade. In 2019-2020 the minimum reading sub-score for advancement is 46 or 683 promotion score on the Ohio AIR Reading Test. This score must be attained either in the Fall, Spring or Summer administration of the grade 3 state English language arts test.


If the student remains in the third grade, the school must provide a high-performing reading teacher and 90 minutes of intensive reading instruction each school day. A student can still take fourth grade classes in all other subjects, if the student shows proficiency in mathematics, social studies, or science.  


Mid-Year Promotion: Schools can move students to the fourth grade mid-year, if the student’s reading improves/begins reading at or above grade level.


How it Helps: The ability to read is the foundation of learning. Research shows that children who are not reading at a third-grade level by the end of grade 3 are likely to have trouble learning in all classroom subjects in higher grades. Studies and data have shown that students who remained in third grade and received intensive reading instruction, improved dramatically in overall school performance in years following.