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Third Grade Language Proficiency

Third grade language proficiency is an important indicator of future success

Third grade language arts proficiency is the earliest standardized test given to all public school students in Nebraska. Third grade language arts proficiency measures student achievement at a critical transition point in their educational careers: “Until the end of third grade, most students are learning to read. Beginning in fourth grade, however, students begin reading to learn.3” Students who do not read proficiently at third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma,4 while third graders who read at or above their level are more likely to graduate and attend college.5

The Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) is the statewide assessment system for language arts skills that public schools have employed since 2016-17. It is not comparable to the older NeSA (Nebraska State Accountability) assessment.

  • Third grade language arts proficiency among LPS students is 63%, compared to 56% of students statewide.
  • For the past three years, a higher proportion of LPS third graders were language arts proficient than for Nebraska public school students as a whole.

3. Lesnick, J., Goerge, R. M., Smithgall, C., & Gwynne, J. (2010). Reading on grade level in third grade: How is it related to high school performance and college enrollment? Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

4. Fiester, L. (2013). Early warning confirmed: A research update on third-grade reading. Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

5. Lesnick, et al., 2010.