Home » Local News, Rotating Features

APS doesn’t expect large number of kids to be held back due to 3rd grade reading law

Submitted by on February 12, 2020 – 12:56 amNo Comment

Alpena Public Schools is not expecting a sizeable number of students to be held back due to the state’s new Read by Grade Three law, which takes effect this year.

The law requires 3rd grade students who are more than one grade level behind in reading to be retained instead of moving onto 4th grade. The results of the spring English language arts (ELA) portion of the state’s standardized test, M-STEP, will determine the fate of young students.

School districts will be allowed to issue so-called “good cause exemptions” for students they feel should be promoted to 4th grade despite test scores.

Meaghan Gauthier is the Director of K-12 Instruction for APS. On Tuesday she gave a board of education committee an update on what the district is doing to prevent retention. She also said that when the M-STEP window closes near the end of May, APS will send letters to parents of students who scored at or below the retention threshold to let them know their child may be held back. The Michigan Department of Education is expected to send a formal letter to those parents within 30 days of testing. Parents will then have another 30 days to request a good cause exemption.

Gauthier said that based on test scores from last year, only four APS kids would have qualified for retention. She noted that research indicates that holding a student back at the 3rd grade level can have a negative impact on a child. “So we’re doing all we can to prevent retention as possible,” Gauthier told the committee.

The M-STEP testing window for APS students is April 27-May22.