IREAD-3 Results Showing Disparities Statewide

Newly released results for Indiana’s reading proficiency test show that more third graders are passing the test, but students living in poverty or those who don’t speak English have a higher failure rate on the test.

According to the results released yesterday by the Indiana Department of Education, 79 percent of students from families that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program in Indiana passed the IREAD-3 test in the spring compared with the overall pass rate of 86.1 percent for the same test. That number went up to 86 percent once students who underwent remediation took the test again, also below the statewide figure following remediation. Slightly less than 64 percent of students that have a native tongue other than English (classified by the state as “English language learners”) passed the test on the first try, a number that went up to just 74 percent following remediation.

The IREAD-3 test is administered in March of each year. The aim is to identify those students that need more intensive help before they move into the fourth grade. In a statement, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz thanked educators and families for making reading proficiency a high priority across the state, though she is against the test, which was instituted by her predecessor, Tony Bennett.

Ritz has made several attempts to eliminate the test by instituting various other measures that she argues would be a better gauge of a student’s reading proficiency, efforts that thus far have been rejected by the state board of education.

As mentioned a moment ago, 86.1 percent of third graders statewide passed the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination (IREAD-3) test in the spring, but the results also showed the impact of remediation for students during the summer. Those students who took the test again during the summer following the remediation took the overall passing rate up to 91.4 percent, a more than 5 percent increase. That number is up slightly from 2012, the first year of the test, when just over 90 percent of third graders, including those who took the test following summer remediation, passed.