Understanding Fall Third Grade English Language Arts (OST) Results: Are Third Graders Improving? - Buckeye Community Hope Foundation

Understanding Fall Third Grade English Language Arts (OST) Results: Are Third Graders Improving?

By Stan Nicol, M.ED., Data Analysis and School Accountability 

The third grade English Language Arts (ELA) Ohio State Test is an assessment given up to three times each school year. It is an important assessment, scores on which are tied to Ohio’s Third Grading Reading Guarantee. The test is given in fall and spring. For students still needing a chance to reach the promotion/passing score, it is offered again in the summer. The assessment measures reading comprehension and writing. This assessment’s results are included in both the Achievement and Early Literature component ratings of the state’s Local Report Card (LRC).  

How are third graders progressing on this assessment? Using only raw test data from the state testing site (TIDE), we see the state’s average scaled score is up 6 points from 687 (Fall 2022) to 693 (Fall 2023). The schools sponsored by the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation (BCHF) show an 8-point improvement. While the state average scores are back to pre-pandemic levels, the average scaled score for schools sponsored by the BCHF is just 4 points below Fall 2019 levels. The proficiency rate for Fall 2023 is 25.8%. This represents our highest fall scores since the Fall of 2019. See figure 1 below.


The third grade ELA assessment is made up of 3 sub scored areas. Reading Informational Text, Reading Literary Text, and Writing. Each area is measured as “Below,” “At/Near” and “Above” proficient. When combining “At/Near” and “Above” together, students overall show significant improvements in all three areas. We also see a marked improvement in writing proficiency, which has been a focus area for BCHF’s school improvement team over the last few years. Figure 2 below shows BCHF schools’ sub scored area improvements made over the last 3 administrations of the fall assessment. Note, fewer (34.5%) of our students see their writing evaluated as “not scored” for various reasons.

The scaled score required for promotion to fourth grade is currently 690. We show that 34.0% of our students have already met this benchmark with nearly 27% scoring proficient (700) or above. The state LRC also measures the percentage of students scoring proficient or above on the reading only sections of the assessment. For Fall 2023, 26.7% of BCHF students met or exceeded this standard, indicating the continued need for intensive early literacy work with our population of students. 

Moving forward this school year, all schools are tasked with improving these fall scores as we approach the spring administration of these assessments. Buckeye Community Hope Foundation has provided each school with detailed analyses of the fall results.

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