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Our goal is 95% here at Maricopa Christian Academy (or Better)

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Photo by Afif

I can't find the study. It was quoted by an instructor for one of Arizona's Department of Education training classes. In it, a couple of researchers said 95% of the K-12 students' have the potential to read at grade level. That is not what we achieve as a state or nation. But the potential is there for 95%. Here is some information supporting this idea from the NAEP website.

"In 2019, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) administered the reading assessment to representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade students in the nation, states, NAEP achievement levels are performance standards that describe what students should know and be able to do. Students performing at or above the NAEP Proficient level on NAEP assessments demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter."

As of 2019, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations was 34% nationally. Far, far from the potential 95%.

More on this idea is a report from the NIH (National Institute for Health as reported in EAB.

"The National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that nearly all children have the cognitive capacity to learn to read, estimating that only 5% of young readers have severe cognitive impairments that would make acquiring reading skills extremely difficult. While the remaining 95% of students have the capacity to read, not every student will learn to read under the same conditions. An estimated 30% of students will learn to read regardless of how they were taught. However, roughly half of students will need high-quality Tier 1 instruction in foundational skills, and an additional 15% of students will require additional time and support to meet their reading potential.” (p.6)

EAB—District Leadership Forum. (2019). Narrowing the third-grade reading gap: Embracing the science of reading."

WHAT has happened to the 61% of fourth graders not reading at expectations.

Some blame poverty, the particular shade of skin color and learning problems in children for the low academic skills consistently tested. Teacher quality is a big part of those statistics. A recent study out of North Carolina and Washington found that poor students of color are more likely to get less-effective teachers.

Teaching special education for eighteen years, the skin color and family income level made no difference in student skills. The quality and experience of their regular education teacher always, I mean no exception, made the biggest difference in a student's academic and social progress. But even the best of teachers in traditional instructional systems of teaching the masses a subject and moving on will have a lot of trouble helping their students meet their goals.

The purpose of this article is to say we plan, here at Maricopa Christian Academy, on reaching and maintaining the goal of 95% or more of our students reading at or above grade level expectations within their first two years with us. It would be fun to reach 100%. We will see. A student's progress will be measured with the Iowa Assessments in the spring school-wide, probably in April. And we will be able to show grade level or above reading skills, through the different subject text work each student performs.

But how do we meet this goal when so many schools fall short while also receiving a large percentage of students who begin their education with us below grade level expectations.

We use the same approach as for those students who come to us at or above grade level expectations.

Each student has individual learning goals set by the teacher and the school daily based on his present skills and the work performed the day before. This is accomplished through the use of a very organized instructional system that has been used for over thirty years by four different private schools I have trained or helped to train their teachers. These teachers know daily where their individual students are at in their particular skills. All of this is accompanied with small class sizes and the fact all of our students work very hard. It works.

That is why 95% is an attainable goal. With a lot of prayer, of course.

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

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