Download & Other Tools
- Definition: Percentage of all public school students tested in 3rd grade who scored proficient or advanced on the English Language Arts California Standards Test, by socioeconomic status (e.g., 33% of economically disadvantaged 3rd graders in California scored proficient or advanced in 2013).
- Data Source: California Dept. of Education, Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Results. Accessed at http://star.cde.ca.gov/ (Nov. 2013).
- Footnote: Years presented are the final year of a school year (e.g., 2012-2013 is shown as 2013). Students are considered "economically disadvantaged" if they are eligible for the free/reduced price lunch program or if neither parent graduated from high school. LNE (Low Number Event) refers to data that have been suppressed because there were fewer than 20 estimated students with proficient or advanced scores.
- Measures of Reading Proficiency on Kidsdata.org
On kidsdata.org, reading proficiency is measured by the percentage of 3rd graders in public schools who score proficient or higher on the English Language Arts California Standards Test (CST). These data are available by English fluency, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.In order to score proficient on the CST, a student must demonstrate a competent and adequate understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by this assessment, at this grade, in this content area; scoring advanced requires a comprehensive and complex understanding.
- Reading Proficiency
- Bullying and Harassment at School
- Any Reason For Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Any Bias-Related Reason For Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Disability as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Gender as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Race or National Origin as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Religion as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Sexual Orientation as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Other Non-Specified Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- College Eligibility
- Demographics of Children with Special Needs
- Children with Major Disabilities, by City, School District, and County (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Special Education Enrollment
- Disconnected Youth
- English Learners
- High School Graduation
- Math Proficiency
- Pupil Support Service Personnel
- School Safety
- Perceptions of School Safety, by Grade Level
- Fear of Being Beaten Up at School, by Grade Level
- Physical Fighting at School, by Grade Level
- Carrying a Gun at School, by Grade Level
- Carrying a Knife or Other Weapon at School, by Grade Level
- School Connectedness
- Caring Adults at School, by Grade Level
- High Expectations from Teachers and Others, by Grade Level
- Meaningful Participation at School, by Grade Level
- Total School Assets, by Grade Level
- School Connectedness, by Grade Level
- Truancy, Suspensions & Expulsions
- Why This Topic Is Important
Third grade reading scores are highly correlated with later academic success; some research indicates that reading proficiency at the end of third grade is predictive of whether or not a student will graduate from high school (1, 2). Generally, third grade marks the transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn" (1). Students with limited reading abilities have a harder time keeping up across multiple subjects (including math, science, and other languages), and those who fall behind in the early grades often stay behind (1). Thus, early intervention is critical for children who are struggling with reading.
State and national data consistently show an achievement gap in reading proficiency between some racial/ethnic groups (see California data), though researchers agree the gap largely is due to socioeconomic factors, such as parental education and family income (3). Some progress has been made in closing the gap, but disparities remain.
For more information on reading proficiency see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources for this narrative:
1. Musen, L. (2010). Early reading proficiency. New York, NY: Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Retrieved from: http://www.annenberginstitute.org/pdf/LeadingIndicator_Reading.pdf
2. Child Trends. (2012). Reading proficiency. Retrieved from: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=reading-proficiency
3. Lara-Cinisomo, S., et al. (2004). A matter of class: Educational achievement reflects family background more than ethnicity or immigration. Rand Review, 28(3). Retrieved from: http://www.rand.org/publications/randreview/issues/fall2004/class.html
- How Children Are Faring
In 2013, 45% of California 3rd graders were proficient or advanced in English Language Arts (reading), up from 33% in 2003. Reading proficiency in 3rd grade varies widely at the county level, ranging from 24% to 66% in 2013. Data also show that reading proficiency varies by English fluency, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. For example, 2013 California data show that 33% of economically disadvantaged 3rd graders were proficient in reading, compared to 67% among higher income students. Although disparities remain, the percentage of reading-proficient students increased between 2003 and 2013 for all subgroups with available data (i.e., economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, and students in all racial/ethnic groups).
- Policy Implications
As California implements “Common Core” state standards in English-language arts, policymakers face challenges in authorizing new assessments, curricula, and teacher evaluation systems that align with those standards (1, 2). Teacher quality has been shown to have a significant impact on student achievement in general, and specifically on reading proficiency; acquiring reading proficiency by third grade is a key indicator of later school achievement (1, 3).
According to research and subject experts, policy options that could improve reading proficiency include:
For more policy ideas on reading proficiency in California, see the Research & Links section on kidsdata.org or visit the Center on the Future of Teaching and Learning, the Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse, Education Trust-West, Source, and Early Edge California. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under Math Proficiency, High School Dropouts and Family Income & Poverty.
- Improving teacher quality at every grade level (1, 3)
- Investing in quality preschool or kindergarten readiness programs to lay the foundation for later achievement (4)
- Supporting literacy initiatives that include curriculum, instruction, student assessments, and teacher professional development reflecting the most current understandings in the field (5)
- Articulating state, district, and school-level middle school policies that emphasize improving academic outcomes for all students, including tying student outcomes to teacher evaluations; aligning middle school curricula, instructional practices and assessments with state standards; and prioritizing student academic performance when selecting superintendents and principals (6)
- Analyzing district and school-level data on student achievement and progress by racial/ethnic group, especially for children of color and low-income students so that data can inform policy (7)
- Encouraging and investing in comprehensive, evidence-based policies to promote family involvement in school, which is related to higher levels of achievement motivation, task-persistence, and receptive vocabulary (8).
Sources for this narrative:
1. The Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at WestEd. (2012). CenterView: Willing but not yet ready: A glimpse of California teachers’ preparedness for the Common Core State Standards. Retrieved from: http://www.cftl.org/centerviews/february12.html
2. California Department of Education. (2013). Common core state standards. Retrieved from: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cc/
3. Education Trust-West. (2013). The Education Trust-West 2013 Policy Agenda. Retrieved from: http://www.edtrust.org/west/publication/the-education-trust-west-2013-policy-agenda
4. Evans, L. (2013). Kindergarten readiness program are beneficial to fulfilling benchmarks and standards. Northern Michigan University. Retrieved from: http://www.nmu.edu/education/sites/DrupalEducation/files/UserFiles/Evans_Lynn_Marie_MP.pdf
5. Alliance for Excellent Education. (2012). Policy brief: Confronting the crisis: Federal investments in state birth-through-grade-twelve literacy education. Retrieved from: http://all4ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ConfrontingTheCrisis.pdf
6. EdSource. (2010). Gaining ground in the middle grades: Why some schools do better. Retrieved from: http://www.edsource.org/middle-grades-study.html
7. Stuart, L., & Hahnel, C. (2011). A report card on district achievement: How low-income, African-American, and Latino students fare in California school districts. Education Trust-West. Retrieved from: http://www.edtrust.org/west/publication/a-report-card-on-district-achievement-how-low-income-african-american-and-latino-st
8. El Nokali, N., et al. (2010). Parent involvement and children’s academic and social development in elementary school. Child Development, 81(3), 988-1005. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2973328/
- Websites with Related Information
- Attendance Works: Advancing Student Success By Reducing Chronic Absence
- California District Report Cards, Education Trust-West
- Child Trends: Reading Proficiency
- Early Edge California
- National Center for Education Statistics
- PolicyforResults.org, Center for the Study of Social Policy
- Public Policy Institute of California: K-12 Education
- The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, WestEd
- The Education Trust West
- What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences
- Key Reports
- A Problem Still in Search of a Solution: A State Policy Roadmap for Improving Early Reading Proficiency, 2012, Education Commission of the States, Christie, K. & Rose, S.
- A Report Card on District Achievement: How low-income, African-American, and Latino Students Fare in California School Districts, 2011, Education Trust-West, Stuart, L. & Hahnel, C.
- Bringing Families to the Table: Recommendations and Next Steps from the National Policy Forum for Family, School, and Community Engagement, 11/2011, Equity Matters: Research Review No. 5. The Campaign for Educational Equity, Weiss, H., et al.
- Catching up to the Core: Common Sense Strategies for Accelerating Access to the Common Core in California, 12/2012, Education Trust-West
- Chronic Absenteeism in the Elementary Grades, 2011, Information Capsule: Research Services v1009, Blazer, C.
- Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, 5/2010, Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT
- Exploring Family, Neighborhood and School Factors in Racial Achievement Gap, 2010, RAND Corporation, Montoya, S.
- Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in School Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap, 2010, Equity Matters: Research Review No. 6. The Campaign for Educational Equity, Basch, C. E.
- Leading Indicator Spotlight: Early Reading Proficiency, 5/2010, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, Musen, L.
- Preparing the Children of Immigrants for Early Academic Success, 7/2013, Migration Policy Institute, Crosnoe, R.
- Racial Gaps in Early Childhood: Socio-emotional Health, Developmental, and Educational Outcomes Among African-American Boys, 5/2011, National Center for Children in Poverty, Aratani et al.
- Racial Segregation and the Black/White Achievement Gap, 1992 to 2009, 12/2012, The Sociological Quarterly, Condron, D., et al.
- School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth, 2009, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Starting Out Right: Pre-K and Kindergarten, 2012, Center for Public Education
- Supporting the Literacy Development of Low-Income Children in Afterschool Programs, 2003, Robert Browne Foundation: Afterschool Matters, Halpern, R.
- County/Regional Reports
- 2014 Youth Wellbeing Report Card: Santa Monica, California, 2014, Cradle to Career Working Group
- Children's Report Card: Sacramento County Children's Coalition, 2013
- Fresno Community Scorecard, Fresno Business Council and ValleyPBS
- Kern County Report Card, 2014, Kern County Network for Children
- Orange County Community Indicators Report, 2014
- San Diego County Report Card on Children & Families, 2013, The Children's Initiative and Johnson Group Consulting, Inc.
- Santa Barbara County Children's Scorecard, 2011, Santa Barbara County KIDS Network
- Santa Clara County Children's Agenda: 2014 Data Book, 2014, Planned Parenthood and Kids in Common
- School Readiness and School Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis of Santa Clara and San Mateo County Students, 12/2010, Santa Clara County Partnership for School Readiness, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Applied Survey Research
- Solano County Children's Report Card, 2013, Children's Network
- Tulare County Children’s Report Card 2010, 2011, Children's Services Network
- What Teacher Characteristics Affect Student Achievement? Findings from Los Angeles Public Schools, 2010, RAND Corporation, Buddin & Zamarro
- More Data Sources For Reading Proficiency
- America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Childstats.gov
- DataQuest, California Department of Education
- Ed Data Express: Data About Elementary and Secondary Schools in the U.S.
- Ed-Data, Education Data Partnership