SOURCE: MetaMetrics

April 24, 2014 10:00 ET

MetaMetrics Report: Third-Grade Reading Linked to College and Career Readiness

DURHAM, NC and RALEIGH, NC--(Marketwired - Apr 24, 2014) - According to a recent analysis by MetaMetrics®, the reading level of North Carolina third-graders is highly predictive of their readiness for college and careers after high school graduation. The data, taken from the Public School Forum's 2013 "Roadmap of Need," covers a broad range of socioeconomic, educational, and health and wellness metrics for all 100 counties in the state. The Roadmap ranks counties on a variety of indicators impacting young people, finding a cluster of highest need along the I-95 corridor from South Carolina to Virginia. MetaMetrics' analysis found a high correlation between many of the Roadmap metrics and ACT performance (as a proxy for college and career readiness). The analysis also found significant gaps in reading performance among many NC counties.

In roughly half of North Carolina's school districts, 32 percent or more of third-graders are not reading at grade level. The performance gap found across the state ranges from 12 percent of third-graders in Camden County who are not reading on grade level to 54 percent in Washington County. "That means that over half of third-graders in Washington County will struggle with understanding a well-known children's book like Charlotte's Web, compared to only just over 10 percent in Camden County who will struggle with the same book," says Malbert Smith III, Ph.D., president and co-founder of MetaMetrics.

Recent legislation in North Carolina has mandated additional support resources for students who are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade. While a great deal of attention has been given to required attendance at summer reading camps and potential retention for students who are struggling to read on grade level, less attention has been given to the early and periodic assessments that allow teachers and parents to intervene early when a student is struggling to read.

"By extending assessment tools to the start of kindergarten, we do not have to wait until the end of third grade to identify reading difficulties and intervene appropriately," Smith says. 

According to MetaMetrics, the ultimate goal of putting students on the path to college and career readiness will be best served by four interventions. Those interventions include early pre-kindergarten education, addressing summer learning loss, the smart use of digital personalized learning platforms, and implementing the Common Core State Standards.

"We need to invest in public education and in early childhood education," says the Forum's president and executive director, Keith Poston. "And we must continue to examine strategies to combat the gap between low-wealth and high-wealth counties."

The full MetaMetrics report can be accessed at The Forum's Roadmap of Need can be accessed at

About the Public School Forum of North Carolina
For nearly 30 years, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has worked to shape world-class public schools that inspire and support all children and drive a vibrant North Carolina economy through research, policy work, advocacy and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Our focus areas are teaching and school leadership; expanded learning through programs after-school and beyond the classroom; educational achievement and innovation; and school finance. We also lead the Education Policy Institute that focuses on developing passionate education leaders, and on promoting sound education policy through continuous learning and issues forums for elected officials and candidates for state and local offices that affect education policy. For information, visit

About MetaMetrics
MetaMetrics is focused on improving education for learners of all ages and ability levels. The organization develops scientific measures of academic achievement and complementary technologies that link assessment results with real-world instruction. MetaMetrics' products and services for reading (The Lexile® Framework for Reading, El Sistema Lexile® para Leer), mathematics (The Quantile® Framework for Mathematics) and writing (The Lexile® Framework for Writing) provide unique insights about academic ability and the potential for growth, enabling individuals to achieve their goals at every stage of development. Connect with the organization at:

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Keith Poston
    President and Executive Director
    Public School Forum of North Carolina
    919.781.6833, x105

    Elizabeth Lattanzio
    Marketing Manager