FWCS sets reading goal of 95% passing by 2027
15 Nov 2022 — Journal Gazette
Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Community Schools board formalized its expectations Monday about students' reading skills, matching a statewide goal of reaching a 95% passing rate on a key exam by 2027.

Board member Steve Corona, who presented the resolution, hopes FWCS' resolution encourages other boards and districts to do the same.

"We as a state have to get serious about this," Corona said after the meeting.

FWCS and other districts saw their scores plummet on the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination assessment, or IREAD-3, when testing resumed in 2021 after disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The exam measures third grade literacy proficiency.

In 2021, the statewide rate fell to 81.2% from 87.3% pre-pandemic. FWCS had a sharper decrease, dropping to 65.1% from 78.7%.

The 2022 scores continued to lag 2019 levels despite some progress. Passage rates were 81.6% statewide and 70.2% for FWCS.

Proficiency among FWCS' elementary schools varied widely, however. Scores this year ranged from 42.4% at Abbett Elementary School to 98% at Croninger Elementary School, the only district school to exceed 90%.

Joe Brown, a central office administrator, told the board achieving the 95% goal will take a lot of effort.

"We've got a ways to go, but I'm confident that we're going to get there," said Brown, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Officials have said mastering foundational literacy skills - including vocabulary and comprehension - by the end of third grade is important because research shows students who don't acquire the skills by then will likely struggle to read throughout their lives.

FWCS' resolution indicates the board will send a copy of its resolution to the Indiana Department of Education "as acknowledgment of their partnership and dedication in reaching and exceeding" the shared goal.

Corona said the word "their" is key.

"We own this commitment," he said.

Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education, has said that having 95% of students achieve a passing score on IREAD-3 by 2027 is a collective challenge.

"But it is also a huge opportunity," Jenner said in her weekly message dated Aug. 19. "We stand ready to partner with you to implement bold, innovative strategies to support our students' long-term academic success and the future success of the state of Indiana."

This story is provided free courtesy of The Fort Wayne Newspapers.
"FWCS sets reading goal of 95% passing by 2027" Journal Gazette 15 Nov 2022: A1