The Need

Third grade marks a turning point for children – from learning to read to reading to learn. Students not reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade are highly likely to fall even further behind and are four times less likely to graduate high school.

Proficiency in 8th grade reading performance often determines placement in high school college preparatory courses and access to high performing high schools, is a predictor for high school graduation, and is a critical milestone in the college and career readiness pathway.

The Data
Percentage of 3rd Graders Not Meeting Reading Standards
Percentage of 8th Graders Not Meeting Reading Standards
Key Factors
  • The achievement gap in reading proficiency between Black and White students in the Class of 2018 grew from 20 percentage points in 2009 to 28 percentage points in 2014. (SCPASS)
  • While all tri-county children declined in reading proficiency between 3rd and 8th grades , Black students declined at nearly three times the rate of White students:

Student group Reading Proficiency 2009 – 3rd graders Reading Proficiency 2014 – 8th graders
White 90% 83%
Black 70% 55%

What We’re Doing
  • In 2016, TCCC will form a literacy network to address the reading proficiency challenges evident in early grades that continue to impact student learning across the continuum.
  • In February 2015, TCCC hosted the first ever meeting of the superintendents and board chairs of the four public school districts serving the tri-county region.  The meeting focused on the results of the Regional Education Report and opportunities for the districts to collaborate to address shared issues.  Among the outcomes of the meeting was the formation of the Lowcountry Education Consortium, an informal group of the four district superintendents that meets monthly to discuss shared interests ranging from inclement weather policies to funding and advocacy.

Proficient in 3rd Grade Reading

“Children who are not ready for school, who miss too many days, and who lose ground over the summer months are likely to miss 3rd grade reading milestones.”

Annie E. Casey Foundation


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Proficient in 8th Grade Reading

“In the upper grades, students need advanced literacy skills to read and learn from the more sophisticated assignments and texts they receive for disciplinary studies, particularly in math, science, English, and history.”

Center for Public Education