Third-graders hope to pass on fourth try

Published 12:10 am Monday, November 16, 2015

NATCHEZ — Tuesday some Natchez-Adams School District third-graders will take the Third Grade Reading Summative Assessment for the fourth time.

It’s the first time students who failed the test last year will get a chance to retake it.

Last year was the first year for the assessment, also known as the Third Grade Reading Gate. Students must pass the test to advance to the fourth grade.

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Director of Communications for the Mississippi Department of Education Patrice Guilfoyle said the November testing is not for new third graders, just ones who have not passed in the past.

“It’s not a special testing period,” Guilfoyle said. “It’s just another opportunity for those to take the test who did not pass it.”

Overall, 92 percent of all third graders passed the test after two retakes last year. All three NASD elementary schools achieved passing rates above the average.

Susie B. West Elementary had the highest rate in the district with 96.2 percent of its students passing. Joseph L. Frazier Elementary School had a passing rate of 93.68 percent and Gilmer McLaurin Elementary had a rate of 93.46.

Fifteen students did not pass the test last year. Two of those students qualified for what the state calls a good cause exemption, and moved on.

The other 13 were moved to McLaurin where two high-performing teachers are teaching them alongside other third-graders. Students also have access to a support staff, which includes two high-performing teacher’s assistants.

Now, after months of preparation, they’re getting ready to retake the test.

But even if students do pass the test, Guilfoyle said they would not be able to advance to the fourth grade immediately.

The rest of the district’s third graders will have their first test administration window from March 28 to April 15.

The first window for a retest is from May 16-20. The final retest opportunity this year will be from June 27 to Aug. 5.