Fall reading test results released Friday show a third of Trumbull County third-graders score below a ''proficient'' rating in a new literacy target.
Bristol, Brookfield, Joseph Badger, Liberty and Mathews districts saw increases while others showed decreases from fall 2012 scores.
Under the state's new Third Grade Reading Guarantee, students can be held back if they don't meet tough new reading targets. Students took the tests in October.
Nine districts held scores below 50 percent proficiency, including Girard at 47; LaBrae at 38; McDonald and Newton Falls at 45; Niles and Southington at 49; Warren at 28; and Weathersfield at 47 percent.
Summit Academy held the lowest at 0 percent. It also had the lowest number of test-takers.
Trumbull County wasn't the only area that didn't fare well on the state assessments.
The results also showed 32,905 students, or 26.2 percent of students across Ohio, showed limited proficiency, which misses the new mark. About half of the 21,177 students who showed basic proficiency also will fall below what's been dubbed the "cut score" for passing third grade, officials said.
That puts more than 34 percent of the roughly 125,000 Ohio third-graders who participated at risk.
"The test has changed, that's one thing, and it's earlier in the year this year, that's another," said Mathews Superintendent Lew Lowery, whose district scored the second-highest in Trumbull County at 71 percent.
"There's some room for improvement, but we're very pleased to be as high as we were. A lot of times, it depends on the class. It changes from year to year, but then we also have a heck of a good intervention process in place for our kids," he said.
Lakeview held the highest scores in Trumbull County at 73 percent of test-takers scoring efficient or higher. They had a small decrease from last fall's 74 percent.
Superintendent Robert Wilson attributed their success to an excellent teaching staff, a caring community, great leadership and parent involvement.
"We started preparing for this test two years ago when we first heard about it. We knew the tests were coming, and we've always valued reading and English langage arts," he said, adding that the school also has a high attendance rate.
New textbooks were chosen to align closely with the new reading tests and standards, he said, which helped them to prepare for the upcoming assessment.
"We have a very forward-looking staff over there. They didn't sit around and wait to see what the tests looked like," he said. "We've got concerned parents who want the best for their kids, and we've got great leadership."
Brookfield Schools showed an increase this fall, with 57 percent as opposed to last year's 49 percent testing under the new guidelines. Superintendent Tim Saxton said the combination of Race to the Top funds and teacher-classroom collaboration helped his district to prepare for the test.
"Support from the board in moving things forward is a key factor. We have tried to focus in on different learning supports and assessment strategies. I think it's paying off because it's having an immediate impact," he said. "I'm very happy with what's going on in the elementary right now."
Despite the increase, Saxton said the goal is to achieve 90 percent proficiency or higher.
"We are shooting for advanced and excel, but we want all students to be proficient in what they do, and it takes time," he said.
Saxton also said changes have been made to materials that were outdated as well as other revisions, which will help kids over the course of the next several years.
Lowery said he believes test scores in the spring will show more improvement across the districts.
"I think you're going to see a big change when they give them in May. The spring tests will be much better than the fall tests, I'm sure of that," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.