Ohio students outperform nation in reading

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2003

Ohio fourth- and eighth-grade students performed well above the national average in reading, scoring higher than two-thirds of all participating states.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released these results as part of its "Nation's Report Card: Reading 2002."

Out of the 41 states that took part in the evaluation, Ohio eighth-graders ranked eighth overall. No state achieved statistically

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higher scores than Ohio. This was the first time Ohio eighth-graders participated in the reading test.

Ohio fourth-graders placed 12th among their 43 state counterparts, with only three states achieving statistically higher scores. The number of fourth graders - 34 percent -

at or above proficient improved by seven percentage points since 1992. That was the first year the state's fourth-graders took part in the test. It is more than double the rate at which the nation improved (three percentage points) over the same time period.

Local educators are using a variety of methods to improve reading at the elementary school level. Most local schools have shown steady improvement in reading on the state proficiency tests during the last three years.

South Point Superintendent Ken Cook said teachers in his district are employing a variety of intervention methods to give early help to students who show deficiencies in reading. Teachers are also taking professional development courses so they learn new techniques in teaching reading. The district's parent coordinator provides material to parents so they can reinforce at home what the child learns at school. There are also before and after school programs, such as the After School Mall, that provide additional help to students.

"Reading has always been emphasized in the elementary schools (in South Point), with the goal of every child reading at grade level by the time they leave the second grade," Cook said.