Reading & Literacy

9 States Make Adjustments for Early Reading Laws

June 01, 2020 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As states consider what reading instruction has covered this spring, and what it will look like in the fall, some have hit pause on their 3rd grade reading laws. In regular school years, these laws prevent students from advancing to the next grade unless they can demonstrate reading proficiency. Many are tied to performance on state tests, which states have canceled in response to the pandemic.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia require retaining students who do not meet these proficiency standards by the end of 3rd grade, though most allow for exemptions under certain conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The following states have announced changes to these policies for the 2019-20 school year, or issued new guidance:

See Also: Early Reading Instruction Takes a Hit During COVID-19

Arizona: Students do not need to meet the requirements of the 3rd grade reading law to be promoted.

District of Columbia: Students should not be retained unless “the family and school agree that it is in the student’s best interest.”

Florida: As state testing data will not be available this school year, schools “promotion decisions should be made in consultation with parents, teachers, and school leaders based on the students’ classroom performance and progress monitoring data.”

Georgia: The cancellation of state tests eliminates the requirement to use testing data in 3rd grade promotion decisions.

Michigan: The 3rd grade reading law is suspended by executive order.

Mississippi: The 3rd grade reading test has been canceled. “Current 3rd graders will be promoted to 4th grade for the 2020-21 school year if the student meets all other district requirements for promotion.”

North Carolina: The state education department recommends that students be promoted unless the retention process was already “well underway” before the shutdowns.

Ohio: The state legislature suspended the 3rd grade reading law for the 2019-20 school year.

South Carolina: State testing data is not available this year, so promotion decisions should be based on “a collection of data points that may include formative assessments, teacher-made assessments, quarter grades earned, and prior parent notification and input.”

—Sarah Schwartz

Related Tags:


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy New Curriculum Review Gives Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs
Two of the nation's most-used literacy programs are facing new criticism.
14 min read
EdReports Fountas and Pinnell 1004026742
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on Oral Language in Reading Instruction
This Spotlight will help you determine where your reading instruction may have holes and more.
Reading & Literacy Data More States Are Making the 'Science of Reading' a Policy Priority
Four states have passed laws requiring evidence-based instruction, and at least 18 are directing COVID relief funds to early reading.
4 min read
Getty Images
Getty Images
Reading & Literacy Popular Literacy Materials Get 'Science of Reading' Overhaul. But Will Teaching Change?
Lucy Calkins and Jennifer Serravallo are among those releasing updates that move away from unproven techniques like three-cueing.
18 min read
A book becomes an open doorway