In spring 1999, the 4th-graders at Union Elementary School in Cleveland did something remarkable. About 56 percent who had been enrolled since Oct. 1 passed the reading portion of the Ohio Proficiency Test. The year before, only 13 percent passed.
Action plan #1: Teachers place Joey in a small tutoring group and use his test scores to guide the lesson plan. It includes a daily review of the 20 letters that Joey knows and eight specific teaching strategies such as flash cards, sorting similar letters and writing letters in multiple media. At the end of the school year, he undergoes another assessment.
The increase of 43 percentage points was the largest at the 4th-grade level among the 82 elementary schools in the Cleveland Municipal School District. Beginning in 2001-2002, 4th-graders throughout Ohio who fail to pass the reading section of the state-mandated test after three tries will be held back.