Student Promotion and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee

Click here for a printable PDF version of this page.

For the 2013-2014 school year, a student must reach at least a 392 on the Grade 3 Reading Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) to move on to the fourth grade. If a student does not reach that score, the student may still move on to fourth grade if they qualify for a retention exemption. These exemptions apply to:

  • Limited English proficient students who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for less than three full school years and have had less than three years of instruction in an English as a Second Language program;
  • Special education students whose IEPs specifically exempt them 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; and
  • Students who demonstrate reading competency on a Reading OAA Alternative approved by the Ohio Department of Education.

OAA Alternative

The OAA Alternative will be a summative reading assessment aligned to end of year third grade standards. A student must achieve whatever the assessment designates as proficient in order to move on to the fourth grade. This will be comparable or more rigorous than the proficient score on the Reading OAA.

  • A short list of OAA alternatives can be found here
  • Districts may administer these alternative assessments twice during the year and once during the summer to mimic the OAA administration
  • Districts should administer an alternative assessment to a student that has scored below the cut score on the spring administration of the OAA if the student’s parents request it.
  • The district is responsible for the cost of the OAA alternative assessment.
  • Districts may continue to administer the OAA alternatives through the summer. A student scoring proficient will be promoted to the fourth grade before school starts in the fall.

Summer Promotion

If a student scores below 392 on the fall and spring reading OAAs (scores return in June) and did not demonstrate proficiency on an OAA alternative, it is recommended that the student continue to receive intensive reading remediation services appropriate for the student’s reading deficiency through the summer. If the student can demonstrate reading proficiency on the state assessment at the end of the summer, the student will be promoted to the fourth grade before school starts in the fall.

  • Districts will be able to administer a summer version of the Grade 3 Reading OAA.
  • The administration of the summer exam will be the same as the spring OAA with regard to administration procedures and the cost of the assessment.
  • Students will be required to reach the retention cut score (e.g., 392) in order to qualify for summer promotion.
  • Students who receive a summer promotion should continue to receive appropriate reading intervention in the fourth grade.

Student Reenters the Third Grade

If the student does not demonstrate proficiency in reading during the summer, then the student will be considered a retained student. The student will enter the third grade for the second time. Any promotion after the start of the school year, even as early as September, would be a midyear promotion.

Midyear Promotion

Any student retained by the Third Grade Reading Guarantee is eligible to be promoted during that school year in accordance with the district’s established midyear promotion policy.

Districts that believe a student may be eligible to be promoted midyear are encouraged to offer that student appropriate fourth grade instruction in all other subject areas. This will help ensure the student is academically prepared in the other subject areas when promoted midyear. The district will determine the appropriate fourth grade instruction for the student by:

  • Determining the measures that will be used to assess proficiency in each subject; and
  • Assessing whether the student can demonstrate proficiency in “end of third grade standards” for mathematics, science and/or social studies.

Any retained student who demonstrates proficiency in a subject area above a third grade level must receive the appropriate grade level instruction in that subject area. Although a student may receive appropriate fourth grade instruction in the other subject areas, the student will still be considered a third grade student unless promoted midyear or formally accelerated.

If a student received fourth grade appropriate instruction during their retained third grade year, but did not meet the requirements for midyear promotion, the student will enter fourth grade the following year, and potentially have a stronger foundation in the other subject areas.

As local school boards adopt their midyear promotion policies, they should consider:

  • How the district will assess a student to determine that the student has demonstrated proficiency of academic content consistent with the month of promotion to fourth grade, as outlined in the scope and sequence of the district’s curriculum;
  • How the district will provide academic supports for the student once promoted to the fourth grade, especially in reading if appropriate.
  • When, if appropriate, a deadline for midyear promotions should be established (e.g., by January of each school year).

Once a student is promoted midyear, they are considered a fourth grade student in all subjects and will take the fourth grade state assessments.

Legal Foundation (3313.608)


OAA Alternative

(A)(2) … No school district shall promote to fourth grade any student who does not attain at least the equivalent level of achievement designated under division (A)(3) of section 3301.0710 of the Revised Code on the assessment prescribed under that section to measure skill in English language arts expected at the end of third grade, unless one of the following applies:

(c) The student demonstrates an acceptable level of performance on an alternative standardized reading assessment as determined by the department of education.

Summer Promotion

(B)(3)(c) … If the student participates in the remediation services and demonstrates reading proficiency in accordance with standards adopted by the department prior to the start of fourth grade, the district shall promote the student to that grade.

Midyear Promotion

(B)(3) For each student retained under division (A) of this section, the district shall do all of the following:

(b) Establish a policy for the mid-year promotion of a student retained under division (A) of this section who demonstrates that the student is reading at or above grade level

Fourth Grade Instruction

(B)(4) For each student retained under division (A) of this section who has demonstrated proficiency in a specific academic ability field, each district shall provide instruction commensurate with student achievement levels in that specific academic ability field. As used in this division, "specific academic ability field" has the same meaning as in section 3324.01 of the Revised Code.


Last Modified: 3/14/2014 2:02:26 PM