New SC law says 3rd-graders struggling to read will be held back

Reading test changes in South Carolina may prevent some third graders from moving onto the fourth grade.

This upcoming school year, third graders in South Carolina public schools struggling to read on their grade level will not pass to the next grade.

The South Carolina state law goes into effect in August, saying students will pass or fail based on their end of the year test score.

Based on recent test scores, statewide  more than 3,200 students could find themselves repeating the third grade.

At the York County Library, librarians are putting in countless hours to help improve students' reading skills. More than 13,000 people have signed up for the county's reading program.

“When the schools are gearing down, the public library, we’re gearing up, said Diane Williams. Williams is the director of child services at the York County Library and has been a librarian more than 40 years.

"I love to read," said Jordyn Petty. A second-grader who has visited the library frequently over the summer.

Jordyn, like many others, are getting a head start on reading, which will eventually determine if she passes to fourth grade.

The Read to Succeed Act  goes into effect this August. The law, which was passed in 2014, requires students who fail the end of the year state reading test to repeat the third grade.

“We’ve all heard of the summer slide and that’s when children lose their reading skills when they don’t get to practice,"said Williams.

But what about students who perform well all school year and may not be the greatest test takers? We spoke to Dr. James Lee, a psychiatrist at Ascensions Behavioral Healthcare.

“In psychiatry and mental health, there are several things that can affect both children and adults. Anxiety is one of them," said Dr. Lee.

He also says it is possible for young students to get anxiety during test time, especially if they feel pressured.

“It can be teachers that aren’t as thoughtful or lenient and are trying to press the child, or it could be parents.”

On top of that, a recent study shows grades and test scores don’t always correlate. Just last year, nearly half the country’s graduating students received A grades.

Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1600-point scale, suggesting those A’s might have just been fool’s gold.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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