Ohio Department of Education Topic News

Third Grade Reading Guarantee Update – June 2013


The Ohio General Assembly made changes in Senate Bill 21 to the Reading Guarantee. The Ohio Department of Education will distribute detailed guidance on these changes by the end of this month, June 2013. This document outlines the major changes made.

Teachers Qualifications

Students entering third grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2013, who have been retained or are on a reading improvement plan must have a teacher with at least one year of teaching experience.

Additionally, the teacher must meet one of the following qualifications required in law:

  • Holds a reading endorsement on the teacher’s license;
  • Completed a master’s degree with a major in reading;
  • Has “above expected” rating for value added in reading instruction for the most recent, consecutive two school years;
  • Earned a passing score on a rigorous test of principles of scientifically research-based reading instruction to be qualified for the 2014-2015 school year;
  • New - Rated “most effective” for reading instruction consecutively for the most recent two years based on approved assessments of student growth;
  • New - Holds an alternative credential approved by the department or has successfully completed a department-approved training for reading instruction; or
  • New - Holds an educator license for teaching grades pre K-3 issued on or after July 1, 2017.

A teacher, other than the student’s teacher of record, may provide any service required by the guarantee. This teacher must have the qualification requirements and the approval of the teacher of record, who is the student’s classroom teacher, and the school principal. 

The State Board of Education will develop reading competencies that will inform all reading credentials, training and teacher preparation by January 31, 2014.

Beginning July, 1, 2017, all educators licensed for grades pre-K-3 or 4-9 will pass a rigorous exam of reading instruction identified by the department.


Teacher Staffing Plans

School districts must have a sufficient number of qualified teachers to meet the reading guarantee requirements for the 2013-2014 school year. If this is not possible, the district must develop and submit a teacher staffing plan by June 30, 2013, to the department.

  • The plan must include what information the district will use to decide who teaches students on a reading improvement plan or students who are retained. It also must explain in detail how the district will make sure its staff meets the required qualifications.
  • Not later than March 1, 2014, and on the first day of March in each year thereafter, a school district or community school with a plan will submit a detailed report of the district’s or school’s progress to the department.
  • A school district or community school may request an extension of a staffing plan beyond the 2013-2014 school year. The department may grant extensions valid through the 2015-2016 school year.

For more information, see the District Staffing Plan Template.

Reading Achievement Improvement Plans:

School districts must have a reading achievement improvement plan by December 31, 2016, if:

  1. The district receives a “D” or “F” on the kindergarten through third-grade literacy measure for the last two consecutive years; and
  2. Less than 60 percent of the district’s students score proficient or higher on the third grade reading test in the most recent spring administration.

Those school districts required to create a reading achievement improvement plan must submit it by December 31 of each year. The State Board of Education will identify the elements of the reading achievement improvement plans by December 31, 2014. The department will post the submitted reading achievement improvement plans on its web site.

Diverse Learners

Students who do not speak English may be excused from retention if they have attended a U.S. school less than three full school years (instead of the two years in previous law) and have received instruction in English as a second language for less than three years (instead of the two years in previous law).  

The requirement for annual diagnostic testing does not apply to students with significant cognitive disabilities or other disabilities authorized by the department.