Indiana reading test scores released Wednesday by the state show nearly one in five third graders still struggle to read in what the secretary of education called a “crisis.”
Statewide results of the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination assessment show 81.9% of the more than 65,000 Indiana’s third grade students demonstrated proficiency at reading, a slight improvement of 0.3 percentage points over results for the 2021-2022 school year.
“Today, nearly one in five Indiana students is unable to read by the end of third grade,” Education Secretary Katie Jenner said in a news release. “This is a crisis that could have a long-term negative impact on Indiana’s economy and negative repercussions throughout our society.
“We have no time to waste, and together, we must urgently work to improve reading outcomes for Indiana students, including supporting both current and future educators with the knowledge and tools necessary to teach our students to read using evidence-based literacy instruction, rooted in science of reading,” she said.
Indiana’s third grade literacy rates have been dropping for a decade, starting their descent even before the learning challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Scores remain 9.5 percentage points below the state’s highest-ever proficiency rate of 91.4% during 2012-2013. Reading proficiency improved slightly for Black students, students receiving free or reduced-price meals, students in special education, as well as for English learners, but it fell for Hispanic students, the Department of Education said.
The department’s goal is to have 95% of students statewide pass IREAD-3 by 2027. The latest scores show 242 of Indiana’s 1,366 elementary schools have achieved that goal, an increase of 32 schools over last year.