Ohio’s lower-income fourth-graders were much more likely than higher-income fourth-graders to fall below reading proficiency standards in 2013, according to a report released Jan. 28 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Four in five lower-income fourth-graders were declared below reading proficiency standards in 2013, the report found. Only 48 percent of higher-income fourth-graders fell below proficiency.
Ohio mostly matched the national trend: About 80 percent of lower-income fourth-graders and 49 percent of higher-income fourth-graders across the country read below proficient levels last year.
The report also found Ohio’s overall reading proficiency improved by 5 percent between 2003 and 2013, a notch below the nation’s 6 percent improvement.
The report comes as state officials implement the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which requires most Ohio third-graders to test as “proficient” before they advance to the fourth grade. Preliminary results showed one-third of Ohio students failing to pass the test, putting them at risk of retention.
The report also speaks to some of the challenges Ohio and other states face in evaluating schools, teachers and students as the nation struggles with high levels of income inequality.
For example, a Jan. 22 report from Policy Matters Ohio found high-scoring urban schools tend to have lower poverty rates.
Another study from three school advocacy groups found Ohio’s school funding formula fails to fully account for how many resources school districts need to use to serve impoverished populations instead of basic education services. In effect, the discrepancy means Ohio’s impoverished school districts get even less funding per student for basic education than previously assumed.