There’s no holding back Columbiana third-graders

COLUMBIANA – None of the third-grade students in the Columbiana School District are being held back because of the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, Superintendent Don Mook said this week

Mook presented the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) results to the board of education and said he was pleased with the overall results, which showed students in third through eighth grades passed all subjects with 80 to 100 percent.

Joshua Dixon Elementary School Principal Kim Sharshan and her staff began preparing for the reading guarantee before it was implemented in 2012. The guarantee calls for students not to proceed to fourth grade if they cannot meet the minimum score on the state reading test.

“The guarantee was a pretty big concern for us,” Mook said, adding that overall, third-graders scored 88 percent in that subject on the OAAs.

Third-graders also did well in math, scoring 94 percent overall. Higher grades also earned proficient scores, with sixth-graders earning 100 percent in both reading and math.

“Since these tests have been happening I have not seen 100 percent at this grade level … that was pretty incredible,” he said.

The board briefly discussed the Ohio Department of Education’s shift to online OAA testing and its emphasis on the Common Core over the coming years.

“It is a different style of test. I don’t know if our kids are ready to maneuver the keyboard like we want them to,” Mook said.

Paper tests will still be available for schools that are not yet ready for the technology, and Mook said the district will focus on getting the lower level students ready for that change.

“We have another year to practice,” he said.

He and board members are anxious to see how the district compared to others in Columbiana County on the recent OAAs.

“I think, typically, we have been at the top of this county for quite some time and we want to continue to be there. I’ll have something hopefully in August for you that I will be able to access all the district results,” Mook said.