INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — On Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released results from the 2022-2023 IREAD-3 assessment, which tests the reading skills of Indiana third graders.

The results showed minimal improvements over the last two school years as 81.9% of Indiana’s third graders showed proficient reading skills on the assessment.

The figure represents a .03% increase from the 2021-2022 school year, but the number is still down from 91.4% during the 2012-2013 school year.

As for the four school districts in Allen County, Southwest Allen County Schools and Northwest Allen County Schools exceeded the statewide total, but East Allen County Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools fell short of the 81.9% mark.

“Today, nearly one in five Indiana students is unable to read by the end of third grade,” said Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “This is a crisis that could have a long-term negative impact on Indiana’s economy and negative repercussions throughout our society.”

Although the proficiency rates of Indiana third graders dropped significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic started, the numbers had been steadily declining since the 2014-2015 school year.

Nearly 15,000 third grade students will need additional support to meet Indiana’s grade-level meeting standards, according to IDOE.

Some tactics schools have been using to raise literacy rates among third graders is providing the tests to second graders for practice and utilizing the Indiana Literacy Cadre, which provides teachers with coaching tools and support.