INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Education released results from the 2021-22 Indiana Reading and Determination Assessment, which show that nearly one in five Hoosier students did not not mastered basic reading skills by the end of the third year.
“We know that students first learn to read, then they read to learn,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana’s secretary of education. “The data shows a direct link between reading at the end of third grade and future learning. As many students continue to recover from the academic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, specific student populations—including our low-income, Black, Hispanic, special education, and English language students—had persistent learning gaps even before the pandemic. That’s why it’s so important that educators, families, and communities continue to come together to lead innovative and intentional efforts to ensure that all students are able to read.
Statewide, results show that more than 65,000 third-graders in Indiana — or 81.6 percent — demonstrated good reading skills on the assessment. This is a modest improvement of 0.4 percentage points from the results for the 2020-2021 school year. Overall, the results remain 5.7 percentage points lower than pre-pandemic proficiency rates from the 2018-19 school year, the last dataset available before the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some student populations have experienced significant improvement in reading skills, other student populations will need renewed and intentional support to become successful readers. In total, more than 14,000 third-grade students – or 18.4% – will need additional support to develop their reading skills to meet grade-level reading standards. Reading skills declined overall for third-graders receiving free or reduced-price meals, special education students, and English language learners. Although black and Hispanic students increased by 2.1 percentage points and 1 percentage point, respectively, their proficiency rates remain significantly lower than their grade-level peers.
For the first time, schools also had the opportunity to have their second-grade students take part in the IREAD-3 assessment, with the aim of getting an earlier indicator of whether students are on track when they learn to read. Statewide, nearly 400 elementary schools across the state have chosen to participate, with more than 20,000 sophomores participating. Of these second year students, 62% passed the assessment or are on track to pass next year.
As a new school year begins, innovative efforts must continue in collaboration with schools across the state to ensure that all students become good readers. This includes launching a new instructional coaching program for K-2 teachers to help them incorporate proven reading science teaching strategies into their classrooms. Statewide, 54 schools participate in the program.
IDOE is also leading a number of additional innovative initiatives to support schools, educators and students, including:
• A more than $150 million state-funded grant program to help schools and community partners support accelerated student learning through summer and before-and-after-school programs;
• The Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed performance dashboard (begins fall 2022);
• Microgrants to parents for high-impact tutoring (early fall 2022);
• A partnership with Schoolhouse.world to remove financial barriers to tutoring opportunities;
• The Indiana Learning Lab to provide educators and families with extensive online resources, including literacy, STEM, digital, special education, and teaching English to learners; and
• A one-of-a-kind partnership with Get Your Teach On, providing educators with interactive professional development and support.
Additional information regarding new literacy-focused support for Indiana schools and students will be announced in the coming weeks.