Third Grade Promotion Requirements and Resources

Orange County Public Schools

445 West Amelia Street Orlando, FL 32801-1129 Phone 407.317.3200

August 17, 2018

 Dear Parent:

 In OCPS we want to lead every student to success. Because we depend on a strong partnership with you, we want to share some critical information. The 2002 Florida Legislature enacted a state law that impacts how students in third grade are promoted or retained.  Districts are required to implement the statute and rules. It is important to understand how students, parents and teachers, are impacted by the recent updates.

Below the key points regarding third grade promotion and retention are outlined.

    Your child's teacher is assessing the reading skills of students.  If a deficiency is identified, more intensive help in reading will be provided and the parent will be notified.
      If your child has a reading deficiency, the teacher will give you a description of what the school is doing to help your child improve.
     State law requires that third graders who do not score a level 2 or higher on the Florida State Assessment in ELA (English/Language Arts), or who do not meet the requirements of a Good Cause Exemption under the law, be retained in third grade.

 The law describes six Good Cause Exemptions that may be considered in making the decision to promote third grade students who do not score a level 2, but they are very limited. The state has included special provisions for students who have an English Language Learner (ELL) Plan or Individual Education Plan (IEP for Exceptional Education Students) and meet specific criteria.  The Good Cause Exemptions are listed on the back of this letter.

 One of the Good Cause Exemptions describes a portfolio of student work that provides evidence of proficiency for each of the 22 ELA standards assessed by FSA.  In order to ensure that third grade students have every opportunity to be promoted, the district has created required assignments that meet the state requirements for portfolio evidence.  All third graders will complete these classwork assignments, which count for a grade, and have the opportunity to complete a portfolio by the end of the school year.  Your child's teacher will be able to keep you apprised of your child's progress towards completion of the portfolio during the school year. 

 If you have questions about your child's reading performance, the statute on third grade promotion or Good Cause Exemptions, please contact your child's teacher. He or she can schedule a time to meet at the school to review your child's progress.  We are dedicated to helping your child succeed.  Thank you for your support and partnership.


      Elizabeth Prince
Lake Whitney Elementary

 "The Ora nge County School Boa rd is an equal opportunity agency."

Good Cause Exemptions from Mandatory Third Grade Retention

Florida Department of Education


1.  Limited English proficient students who have had less than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other Languages program based on the initial date of entry into a school in the United States.

2.   Students with disabilities whose individual education plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements ofs.1008.212.

3.   Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of performance on an alternative standardized reading or English Language Arts assessment approved by the State Board of Education.

4.   A student who demonstrates through a student portfolio that he or she is performing at least at Level 2 on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment.

5.   Students with disabilities who take the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment and who have an individual education plan or a Section 504 plan that reflects that the student has received intensive instruction in reading or English Language Arts for more than 2 years but still demonstrates a deficiency and was previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.

6.   Students who have received intensive reading intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.

"The Orange County School Board is an equal opportunity agency:'