By Louis Mellini
MARION COUNTY — Alabama schools are preparing for new rules that will see third graders who fail the reading portion of the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program test held back a grade.
In 2019, the Alabama Literacy Act was established to improve the reading proficiency of public school kindergarten through third grade students and to ensure those students are able to read at or above grade level by the end of the third grade.
The law states all third grade students shall demonstrate sufficient reading skills for promotion to fourth grade, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.
“This was passed in 2019, by the Alabama Legislature to improve reading in public schools and to ensure that students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade,” said State Board of Education District 7 Representative Belinda McRae.
Although the legislation was enacted in 2019, holding students back for failing the reading portion of the test was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The acap test has been being given, so we have a pretty good idea of where the students are,” said McRae.
“The third grade students must pass the reading portion of the ACAP next spring in order to be passed on to fourth grade.”
While passing the reading portion of the test is of massive importance, McRae stated there are alternative ways a student may pass the third grade if they fail the reading portion of the ACAP test.
“They can take a supplemental reading test at a later date--they might do better on that. They can make a reading portfolio where the student’s teacher will work with the student to do certain exercises to help improve their reading skills. Special needs students with IEPs
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