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Student reading scores declining in District 26 middle schools

My 10-year District 26 longitudinal statistical study of English Language Arts reading test scores indicates the number of the top middle school reading students is in decline. In each middle school grade, 6 through 8, less than 10 percent of students exceed ELA reading standards (Level 4).

The study reveals that District 26 grade six students reading at Level 4 fell 16 percent, decreasing from 23.8 percent in 2007 to 7.8 percent in 2008. Grade seven students reading at Level 4 fell 6.3 percent, decreasing from 12.6 percent in 2007 to 6.3 percent in 2008. Grade eight students reading at Level 4 fell 4 percent, decreasing from 13.5 percent in 2007 to 9.5 percent in 2008.

This year, the vast majority of District 26 middle school students met the state ELA reading standards (Level 3). The percentage of students who met standards is 75.1 percent, 78.3 percent and 65.4 percent for grades six, seven and eight, respectively.

Some students who previously failed to meet reading standards (Level 1) improved reading performance and now partially meet standards (Level 2). Some students who previously partially met standards improved reading performance and now meet standards, while other students who previously exceeded reading standards worsened performance and now meet standards.

The data appears to suggest that the best and brightest District 26 middle school reading students have been neglected to provide more attention to struggling Level 1 and 2 reading students. The district must investigate the causes that resulted in the dramatic decline in the number of middle school students who previously exceeded reading standards.

Bernard Hanisch

Fresh Meadows

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