Stark Leads Ohio's Major Counties in Passing 3rd Grade Reading
In a Columbus Dispatch Op Ed piece last Saturday, Education Reform Must Address Poverty, Ohio University's Guido H. Stempel III used the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) third grade reading scores from Franklin County to support the notion that "poverty is clearly a major problem in student performance in our schools." The answer, Stempel contends in the face of ongoing debate about a third grade reading guarantee, "is not more tests or better tests."
Citing that more than 90% pass in Bexley, Dublin, Grandville and Upper Arlington where poverty is less than 20%, Stempel goes on in his analysis, noting that in four districts where more than 50% are in poverty, the pass rate averages 70%.
While Stemple's points are valid for most of Ohio where only 80% of third graders pass (state poverty rate is 45%), things are different in Stark County. While Jackson with a 95% pass rate has less than 20% poverty like its Franklin counterparts, Stark has an additional six districts, with poverty between 20% and 44%, where better than 90% of the students also pass. In five of Stark's six districts with greater than 50% poverty, between 81% to 87% of the students pass.
In fact, of Ohio's largest counties including their "Big Eight" urban districts, Stark has the largest county-wide pass rate.