The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recently published additional guidance to clarify certain provisions of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. ODE’s guidance addresses minimum achievement levels for promotion to fourth grade, summer and midyear promotion of students to the fourth grade, and a description of the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) alternatives.

Promotion Requirements

According to ODE, for the 2013-2014 school year, a student must obtain at minimum score of 392 on the 3rd grade OAA to be promoted to the 4th grade, unless the student qualifies for one of the following exceptions:

  • A limited English proficient student who has been enrolled in U.S. schools for less than three full school years and has received less than three years of instruction in an English as a second language program;
  • A special education student whose IEP specifically exempts him/her from retention under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee;
  • Any student who has received intensive remediation for two years and was previously retained in kindergarten through the third grade; or
  • A student who demonstrate reading competency on a Reading OAA Alternative approved by ODE.

OAA Alternative
OAA alternative assessments will be aligned to the end of the year 3rd grade reading standards. The required score on these alternate assessments will be comparable to, or more rigorous than, the OAA proficient score. ODE will release a list of available OAA alternative assessments in February of 2014. All districts must administer alternative assessments upon parental request for any student who scores below the required cut score on the Spring OAA. In addition, districts may continue to administer OAA alternatives through the summer.

Summer Promotion

If a student fails to meet the required cut score on the Fall OAA, Spring OAA, and OAA alternative, the student should continue to receive intense reading intervention during the summer. ODE will provide a Summer OAA for districts to administer to students who have failed to meet the required cut score for promotion to the fourth grade. If a student can acheive the minimum required score of 392, the student shall be promoted to the fourth grade but should continue to receive reading intervention.

Midyear Promotion

A district is required to develop procedures for midyear promotion to fourth grade for any student who is retained in third grade but who later demonstrates required grade level reading proficiency. In addition, the law mandates a district provide instruction commensurate with student achievement levels in a specific academic ability field if a student who has been retained demonstrates proficiency in that field. However, ODE suggests that if a district believes a student may be eligible for midyear promotion, the district should provide instruction at the fourth grade level in all subject areas. ODE recommends that districts include in their procedures a process of assessment to determine a student’s proficiency in academic content to meet the requirements listed above. The district should also include specific procedures for provision of academic supports when a student is promoted to fourth grade midyear.


A full version of ODE’s guidance on “Student Promotion and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee” can be accessed by clicking here.