On-Grade Achievement

Third Grade Reading/Sixth Grade Math

Children who graduate from high school are more likely to get stable jobs that can sustain a family and enable them to contribute to the local economy. United Way of Greater Topeka is working to reduce the achievement gap in third grade reading and sixth grade math by 50 percent. Failures in sixth grade can be used to identify 60% of the students who will not graduate from high school.

An analysis of students on lunch support programs in Topeka Public Schools showed that:

  • If a child is not proficient in reading by third grade, they have only a one-in-three chance of becoming proficient by sixth grade.
  • If a child is not proficient in math by sixth grade, they have only a one-in-four chance of becoming proficient by eighth grade.
2014 Pacesetter banner

Click to read more about Topeka’s first Pacesetter Award from the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

The analysis revealed reading to be a key component to learning – even predicting math test scores as fifth grade math tests are mostly word problems. The proficiency of third grade reading and sixth grade math scores among students receiving lunch support is significantly lower than the Kansas state average in nearly every Topeka public school. Growing up in poverty can result in a  smaller vocabulary, less time spent listening to books being read aloud and significantly lower kindergarten readiness scores. United Way targets these students for extra help knowing that increasing their success will have rippling benefits for their schools as well.

United Way is working with more than a dozen partners to provide tutoring, to offer opportunities for families to be more closely connected with schools and to deliver continuous learning opportunities for students throughout the year. United Way is also a partner in the national Campaign for Grade Level Reading.


Learn more about our funding process for partner agencies.