Lawmakers lay groundwork for 3rd grade retention law - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Lawmakers lay groundwork for 3rd grade retention law


Student achievement is any school district's number one goal.  However, some students need extra attention to make the grade.          

An Iowa law passed last year gives parents of 3rd graders who aren't meeting reading requirements a choice: either keep your child in 3rd grade or send them to summer school for an intensive reading program.

Sioux City's superintendent says the district uses a student by student approach, because some research suggests that holding children back can do more harm than good.

"The potential for a student to be a dropout increases significantly, if that student's ever retained.  It doesn't matter what grade level.  Research continually shows that.  There's also a lot of research that indicates you ought not just socially promote students either," explained Dr. Paul Gausman.

While the 3rd grade retention law won't take effect in Iowa until 2017, a number of related measures are being put into place today.

"I've directed the Department of Education to come back to the legislature with a report dealing with what we call extended learning, summer school programs after school programs.  What's the strategy for actually having a funding mechanism to put that in place," said Rep. Ron Jorgensen, (R) Sioux City.

"We want to make sure that funding is first made available in 2014, so that by the time a kindergarten students is having to meet those thresholds in 2017, they would have already had the necessary phased in intervention programming," added Rep. Chris Hall, (D) Sioux City. 

The school district received the results of this year's assessment tests.  The Superintendent says their initial estimate shows scores improved.

The full results will be released in about a month.


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