Schools get relief on state testing
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:34
Local school districts facing excessive numbers of lost school days due to inclement weather are thankful to be getting a reprieve of this spring's testing window.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard A. Ross announced Tuesday that the Department of Education is expanding the testing window for the Ohio Achievement Assessments.
The modified testing window will be April 21 through May 16 and will go from three weeks to four weeks.
The extension covers the Ohio Achievement Assessments for grades 3-8 but not the Ohio Graduation Test.
District and school leaders "have expressed concern about missed instructional time and the need to prepare students for the assessments," Ross stated in a media release. "We feel it is important to provide educational leaders with flexibility regarding the assessments. Therefore, we are extending by one week the spring testing window for Ohio schools."
Most are pleased with the governor's decision.
But that option creates an issue at Elmwood Middle School where PARCC field tests have already been scheduled for May 5-22.
By moving OAA tests back a week that will overlap both tests.
"If we push OAA back a week, either we're doubling testing or doing something else," said Dean Bell, middle school principal.
He said he has received no information whether the state will also push back the window for PARCC test.
"They think they've solved one problem by giving us another week," Bell said, but created a second problem with the overlapping of testing.
"It's going to cause a lot of difficulty to move it back," he stated.
He said he has not decided yet on whether to take advantage of the extra time now allowed, and suggested the decision won't be made until mid April.
"We're grateful for getting the extra week," said Todd Cramer, executive director of teaching and learning for Bowling Green Schools.
"Kids are tested at the end of the year for what they're supposed to learn throughout the year. (The extension) will make up that time with lost instruction through all the snow days," said Lori Rea, curriculum director at Otsego.
"Tentatively it will allow us to bump back all the classes for another week," said Eastwood Superintendent Brent Welker.
"Hopefully (getting) five days in a row without delay, that time is golden for us," he said about the extra week allowed.
The extension does not include the OGT, which doesn't thrill Welker but he understood the reasoning.
ODE has timelines it needs to get results back for seniors telling them whether they passed and will graduate, he explained. Students will take the test in March.
"We continue to be concerned about the OGT, that window has not been expanded. That is the most high stakes test," said Cramer.
School administrators are starting to adjust their testing calendar.
The scoring and reporting of the Third Grade Reading OAA will be made a priority to fulfill the Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements
"The more instruction time you have, the better it is for third grade," Welker said.
Third-graders need to pass the reading test this year to move forward to fourth grade.