House Bill 1550 requires that if a third-grade student is not reading at grade level, the student will be asked to participate in a summer reading academy or other program designed to assist the student in attaining grade-level reading skills. If the student does not participate, the student will be retained in third grade and a new program of reading instruction will be developed for the student. If the student does participate in the summer program but doesn’t successfully complete competencies, the student will be retained in third grade and provided alternative reading instruction. In addition, students who score unsatisfactory on the reading portion of the third grade criterion-referenced test will be retained in the third grade and provided alternative reading instruction.
Parents of students who are not reading at grade level or who scored unsatisfactory on the reading portion of the test will be notified that the student will be retained if the reading deficiencies of the student are not remediated, reasons the student is not eligible for a good cause exemption, description of the program of reading instruction and strategies for parents to help students.
Good cause exemptions will be limited to:
1. Limited English-proficient students who have had less than two years of instruction in English.
2. Students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Plan indicates that participation in the statewide criterion-referenced test is not appropriate
3. Students who demonstrate acceptable levels of performance on alternative assessments
4. Students with disabilities who have IEPs and were previously retained in kindergarten, first grade, second grade or third grade for two years.
5. Students who have received a program of reading instruction but still demonstrate a deficiency and were previously retained in kindergarten, first grade, second grade or third grade for two years.
Each district should have a process to promote students at midyear should they begin reading on grade level.
The bill also provides for reimbursement for remediation for students who are retained in third grade.
This bill passed the house and is now in the senate.