Preliminary fig­ures released Friday show that 44 Ard­more City Schools’ third grade students scored unsatisfac­tory on the state’s third grade reading exam given last month.


That amounts to 19.4 percent of Ardmore third graders facing a repeat of the third grade come next August. State law requires third graders who perform unsat­isfactory on the third grade exam to be retained unless they qualify for an exemption.


This is the first class of third graders facing the impact of the law, known as the Reading Suf­ficiency Act, which was amended in 2011 to include the repeat clause.


Results from the state Depart­ment of Education were made available on the state agencies website late Fri­day afternoon.


Across the state, 7,970 students, or 15.7 percent, failed the exam and are at risk of being retained. Those who score unsatisfactory are believed to be reading at a first grade level or below, according to the state De­partment of Education.


Other local districts and the percent unsatisfactory include: Davis, 18.8 percent; Dickson, 12.5 percent; Lone Grove, 8.7 percent; Madill, 9.8 percent; and Marietta, 20.7 percent.


For many smaller school dis­tricts, the number of students who tested at unsatisfactory, lim­ited knowledge and advance was redacted for state and federal privacy laws. Those results were not made available to the public by the state agency.


Local school districts with results redacted include Fox, Greenville, Healdton, Mannsville, Plainview, Ringling, Springer, Thackerville, Turner, Tishomin­go, Wilson and Zaneis. No results at all were reported for Sulphur.


State officials said the prelimi­nary results were generated by the state’s testing vendor. For Plainview third graders, 89 tested, or 76.1 percent, scored proficient, which demonstrates mastery of the test, according to state docu­ments.


Other local districts and per­cent proficient are Ardmore, 55.1 percent; Davis, 72.9 percent; Dickson, 60.2 percent; Fox, 50.0 percent; Healdton, 58.8 percent; Lone Grove, 77.0 percent; Madill, 69.9 percent; Marietta, 52.4 per­cent; Ringling, 62.1 percent; Springer, 65.2 percent; Thackerville, 61.1 percent; Turner, 60.7 percent; Tishomingo, 71.6 percent; Wilson, 65.4 percent and Zaneis, 65.6 percent.


Third graders could score at four levels in reading on the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests: advanced, proficient, limited knowledge or unsatisfactory.


Students who scored unsatisfactory may be promoted to the fourth grade, if they qualify for one of the law's good cause exemptions.


One includes teachers submitting a student's portfolio to the state that would demonstrate a student's reading level as proficient. Another is for students who are English language learners.


State Superintendent Janet Barresi, in a released statement, thanked teachers for their hard work to get students ready for the test and applauded the nearly 80 percent of state third-graders who will be promoted to the fourth grade.


"Nothing is more fundamental to a child's education than the ability to read, and it is our responsibility to educators to see to it that all children have the resources necessary to gain this vital skill before they slip further and further behind. We are moving in the right direction," Barresi said, in a released statement from the agency.


"The strong numbers for proficient readers attest to the hard work and tenacity of our children and their teachers. In the three years since the enactment of the RSA's retention portion, teachers have devoted countless hours and lent their expertise to improving reading instruction for children. They have done superbly." There have been many critics of the retention aspect of the Reading Sufficiency Act, including state legislators. Monday, the state House is expected to vote on the Senate's version of House Bill 2625. If passed, it would return retention decisions to schools and parents. The bill would have to be signed by the governor before becoming law.


The state Department of Education will open a telephone hotline for educators and parents with questions and concerns. The hotline will be active from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, beginning Monday and continuing through May 23. Those with questions can call (405) 521-3774 to leave comments or questions.


"The lines will be monitored, with responses provided in a timely fashion," the agency says.


State hotline number for educators and parents with questions and concerns: (405) 521-3774