Iowa 2009-2010 SB 384 – Mandatory Grade Retention

retention1001 This bill requires the board of directors of a school district, beginning august 1, 2009, to adopt a student promotion policy that facilitates collaboration among teachers, parents, and guardians of the student, and the school district, to support student reading at grade level. Beginning july 1, 2012, the bill prohibits a school district from promoting a student enrolled in grade three to grade four if the student is more than one year below grade level in reading, unless retention at the current grade level is determined not to be in the best interest of the child. A student cannot be denied promotion more than once. Beginning july 1, 2010, students enrolled in kindergarten through grade three in a school district must be assessed from the beginning of and throughout the school year using ongoing assessments of reading skills or early literacy development including phonological awareness, reading fluency, and alphabetic principle. The department of education is required to establish by rule, and provide each school district with, a list of approved reading or early literacy development assessments. The bill also requires the board of directors of each school district to provide interventions to improve a student’s reading skills, and notify the parents and guardians of students of the options under the school district’s reading instruction program. An intensive reading instruction plan, including specialized tutoring, must be developed and implemented by a school district for any grade three student who is one year or more below grade level. After july 1, 2012, if a student is more than one year below grade level in reading, the school board can decide in favor of the student’s promotion only if the school board concludes that if promoted and provided with additional or continued interventions, the student is likely to perform at grade level. The bill requires the director of the department of education to conduct a review of school district student promotion policies and to submit findings and recommendations resulting from the review to the general assembly by december 1, 2010, and biennially thereafter. The bill requires the state board of education to submit recommendations for modifications relating to student promotion in a report to the general assembly by december 1, 2011.