Activists alarmed by third grade reading scores
Early education supporters say MCAS results released Friday underscore the importance of further investments.
According to Strategies for Children, 43 percent of third graders are not proficient readers, based on 2014 MCAS results. The organization said the statewide reading results among third graders are unchanged from last year, although there were achievement gains among students in cities like Pittsfield, Chicopee, Worcester, Haverhill and New Bedford.
Calling for Beacon Hill to make early learning a priority, Strategies for Children CEO Chris Martes, a former K-12 superintendent, said in a statement Friday, "The consequences of reading failure at this age are significant. Struggling readers are four times less likely to graduate high school on time than proficient readers, jeopardizing their prospects for participating in our global knowledge-based economy." According to Strategies for Children, 38,921 third grade students scored proficient or above on the third grade reading MCAS while 29,362 scored below proficient.
Calling for more innovation, Stand for Children Massachusetts Executive Director Jason Williams said that despite improvements in MCAS scores, particularly among so-called turnaround schools, "too many Massachusetts schools continue to stagnate even as other states are making major gains in reading and math." Williams called the third grade reading levels "perhaps most distressing." - M. Norton/SHNS
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