WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Michael Everhart has been swamped this month, testing third graders on reading and vocabulary.
"These students are going to need it," said Everhart who is the center director at Sylvan Learning Center in High Point.
In less than two months, students across the state will take end-of-grade tests.
This year third graders who don't pass have to go to mandatory 6-week summer reading camps and in some cases will be temporarily held back from going to fourth grade.
"There are a lot of tears that come through the door,” Everhart said. “They're afraid that their student isn't going to pass the third grade."
"Nobody wants to do that,” he said. “They're scared."
Local school districts are bracing themselves for a large number of students who may not be ready. Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools already have a number in mind.
"We are looking at right now anywhere from 1,600 to 2,000 kids," said Theo Helm, spokesperson for Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District.
In 2013, only 43 percent of third graders in Winston-Salem Forsyth county schools passed the test.
Third graders passed in Guilford County School District at a rate of 41.7 percent.
"Proficiencies fell across the board in all subjects, in all grades," Helm said.
It’s a drop officials say is caused by new testing standards and faster-paced curriculum.
Curriculum tutors like Everhart say requires extra time and attention to keep up with.
"We don't want to be a Band-Aid,” Everhart said. “We want to prepare them for everything."