Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scrap IREAD-3

Indiana Parents for Fair Testing have information about IREAD-3 including a petition to the Indiana Department of Education.

Why IREAD-3 Should Not be Used to Determine Retention or Promotion for 3rd Graders

Please sign the following online petition joining others in Indiana who oppose a grade retention/promotion assessment.

The intention of IREAD-3 is to identify and retain in third grade children who have not mastered grade level reading skills. If a child fails this 40-question test, the school is required to retain the child in a third grade reading setting, potentially for up to two years. In addition, children who fail IREAD-3 are required to retake the third grade level ISTEP+ the following year in math and reading, even if they passed this test prior.

  • Given that retention has been shown to increase the rate of dropping out, and to have, in the long run, a negative effect on academic achievement, it puts children in harm's way.
  • Research has shown that boys are particularly vulnerable to the effects of grade retention.
  • Standardized tests have a disproportionately negative effect on low-income and minority children and families.
  • IREAD-3 is an unnecessary test. Third graders are assessed frequently by their teachers to determine reading skills such as word recognition, fluency, and comprehension. In addition, most schools require third graders to take NWEA twice a year or ACUITY four times a year, and ISTEP+ in reading and math.
  • The DOE requires students who have disabilities and/or are English Language Learners to take the IREAD-3, despite diagnosed disabilities or language challenges that might make participation in this test inappropriate and harmful to the child. IREAD-3 thus violates special education students' rights to the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) as mandated by IDEA (PL 94-142). (In some situations, an IEP case conference committee can override the results of the IREAD-3, allowing a student to be promoted.)
  • The American Psychological Association web site cites a number of articles dealing with the social/emotional consequences of retention. Judging a student as a failure clearly has long-lasting impacts.
  • IREAD-3 has been inadequately piloted prior to its use. With no public information available about the test’s validity or reliability, parents can not evaluate whether or not the test does what it purports to do.
  • It assumes that 72 minutes of data gathering is more valid than teachers' year-long data gathering and assessment.
  • The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing state that a major decision about a student should not be made on the basis of a single test score (AERA, 2000).
  • The younger the children the greater the unreliability of the test. Researchers know from years of observation that young children vary greatly from day to day in performance.
  • There are a variety of environmental factors that may affect a child's performance, such as poor sleep, nervousness, illness, or family stress. These environmental factors can serve as circumstances for test discrimination.
  • The high-stakes use of tests like IREAD-3 has been shown to narrow the curriculum.
  • IREAD-3 will likely cause school administrators and teachers to focus third grade reading instruction on test preparation for IREAD-3 and may limit time for more authentic classroom activities.
  • Since children with disabilities may receive an exemption from IREAD-3 (but only after failing the assessment), it may result in more parents seeking a disability designation for their children. Not only does this have psychological ramifications for families, it will further burden the special education system and divert resources from those who have a more serious need for them.
  • IREAD-3 has clearly caused fear and anxiety among school officials and parents. This will potentially have a negative impact on the school and family relationship. Instead of trying to build partnerships around authentic work the child is doing at home or at school, the school must concentrate on helping families understand the high-stakes nature of third grade reading. It seems unlikely that an atmosphere of fear will lead to children taking greater pleasure in reading and learning.
  • It is our understanding that the IDOE thus far has provided no additional money for assessment and remediation. When PL-109 was passed, money budgeted for remediation was diverted to assessment to cover the cost of administering IREAD-3. A reduction of funding for remediation is of great concern and contradicts the supposed intent of this law.
For all these reasons, it is unlikely that IREAD-3 will accurately and comprehensively identify third graders whose reading skills are not at grade level. Moreover, the IDOE's goal of retention carries the potential for considerable personal harm. Young children should not be subject to high-stakes tests. Please join others who are concerned about the impact PL-109 is having on our children and schools.

Please sign the following online petition joining others in Indiana who oppose a grade retention/promotion assessment.


Phone: 812-325-1224

Websites that provide information and a place to network with others:

Change IREAD-3 To Make it Fair

Parent Community Network

Indiana Coalition for Public Education – Monroe County and South Central Indiana

Fair Testing: Fact Sheet on Testing and Grad Retention:

Fact Sheet on Testing Young Children:

Ed Week online. Some useful points:

New book published on the topic of testing: The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don't Tell You What You Think They Do (2011), by Phillip Harris, Bruce Smith, and Joan Harris, published by Rowman & Littlefield

Newspaper Articles/Online Articles on Grade Retention/IREAD-3

I-Read 3 in Indiana: Intentional Social Segregation?

Lawmaker: Board of Education Disregarded Legislative Intent with IREAD-3, School Matters

Parents Seek to End Indiana's New Third-grade Reading Test, Bloomington Herald Times

Third Graders' Angst: Test Month is Here

Hoosiers Should Challenge the Validity of IREAD-3 Test, South Bend Tribune

More States Retaining Struggling 3rd Graders, Education Week

Starting at a Disadvantage,The Journal Gazette

Local Schools Ready for IREAD: Third-graders Have Been Preparing for One-day Test, The Herald Bulletin

Bad Policy and Bad for Kids, Herald Times

Retention Based on Test Score a Wrong Answer, Herald Times

Injunction Filed by Project School Parent, Herald Times

Indiana Third Graders Face New Reading Assessment Test, Herald Times

Indiana to Retain Students Based on Test Scores Despite Lack of Research

The Wrong Literacy Plan

The Trouble with Holding Back Students

Rog Lucido: Student Learning Can Only be Described, Not Measured

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