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School Issues: Students Smarter in Kindergarten than Third Grade

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott School Issues: Students Smarter in Kindergarten than Third Grade
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Last week, former Columbus City Schools board member Steph Groce unleashed her intellect and slew of education documents on her new website.

This week, she dropped the bombshell.

Groce looks at Kindergarten Readiness scores at local schools, and compares those scores to performance data on third grade proficiency tests.

The results of the comparison are horrifying: children enter the school system ready-to-learn. By third grade at Columbus City Schools, those children are left behind on the proficiency tests.

While some schools, such as Fairmoor and Avondale, see huge improvements in student achievement between kindergarten and third grades, 48 of the 69 schools in Groce’s report see declines in student performance.

Among those 48 schools are buildings with great technology; 21 of the 48 schools already offer preschool.

Consider a high-performing school such as Winterset; 96.4% of its kindergarteners enter ready-to-learn. By third grade, only 74.4% pass the reading section of the proficiency test. East Linden Elementary provides preschool: 64.3% enter ready, only 40% pass the proficiency test in third grade. (The comparison tables can be viewed in their entirety at educatecolumbus.org.)

Groce points out that building comparisons aren’t a statistician’s ideal: students move around. However, crediting a problem of this magnitude to student mobility seems wholly irrational.

It’s also been argued that proficiency testing fails to measure student achievement. Even so, proficiency tests aren’t going anywhere: they will continue to be the standard by which Ohio schools are measured. Like it or not, local schools celebrate good proficiency test scores.

That leaves Columbus with a bigger problem. It’s not a political problem. And it’s not a problem that’s fixed with preschool or technology, or a unilateral takeover of the schools by an unelected commission.

CLICK HERE for more ongoing information and discussion on the Columbus Education Commission.

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