BOISE — Statewide results from the spring Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) show that about two-thirds of all Idaho students in kindergarten through third grade were reading at grade level, despite the pandemic disruptions in the school year, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said.
“That’s an improvement of about 15 percentage points from the fall, showing that our teachers effectively used results from the start of the school year to identify areas where individual intervention or additional instruction was needed,” she added.
Mountain View School District 244 and Cottonwood Joint School District 242 both saw scores above the state average for spring 2021.
“We’re really proud to be at about 76 percent at Clearwater Valley Elementary School, quite a bit above the state average,” said CVES and Elk City principal Joe Rodriguez at the July 21 MVSD board meeting.
Grangeville Elementary Middle School Principal Adam Uptmor reported scores were “very positive.”
“We’re at grade level for every grade except second right now, and in third grade, which is when we really keep a close eye on scores, we’re close to 80 percent,” he said.
Across Idaho, 87,538 students took the IRI between May 3 and May 28. The IRI is administered to all K-3 public school students and is an early reading screener and diagnostic test, which is given each fall and spring.
By spring of third grade, students are expected to be able to read specific sight words, read a passage, answer comprehension questions and be able to spell grade-appropriate words.
According to research, students who are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers.
Statistics show that 88 percent of students who failed to earn a high school diploma were struggling readers in third grade (Annie E. Casey Foundation).
Third grade has been identified as important to reading literacy because it is the final year children are learning to read, rather than reading to learn. If they are not proficient readers by the beginning of fourth grade, as much as half the curriculum they are taught will be incomprehensible (National Conference of State Legislatures, ncsl.org).