Testing in Ohio hits Legislative Snag–Duh

I’m feeling slightly cynical today, so you’ll have to excuse my snarkiness.

I just read this article from the Dispatch today: Changes in State-Set Student Tests hit Snag in Legislature, and I can’t help but to respond.

(As a reminder, I’m a full common core supporter, and I hope that the new assessments being created for Ohio by PARCC will meet what the standards are trying to do to improve teaching and learning)

“Ohio’s long-anticipated plan to dump the high-school graduation test and replace it with a tougher college- and career-readiness exam and a series of end-of-course tests appears to be in limbo.”

Remember, Ohio has now said for several years that beginning in 2014-2015, there will no longer be an Ohio Graduation Test. Instead, it will be replaced by end of course exams in English 1, 2, and 3 (PARCC developed); Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 (PARCC developed); Physical Science and Biology (Ohio developed), and U.S. History and government (Ohio developed). Additionally there will be a 1-time college and career readiness test given in the fall.

Also remember that in order to still have a high-stakes graduation system, the state was working on some sort of (complicated) point system that looked like this:

20130724-123050.jpg

Hands up if you could foresee all the potential problems with these changes! (*hand raised*)

“State lawmakers and education officials have re-opened debate over the graduation requirements. Without a resolution, sophomores in the 2014-2015 school year would be required to take both the current graduation test and the new ones.”

So, sophomores in 14-15 will (if legislators don’t get their crap together) have the fall college and career readiness test (1 day-ish, right?), OTES student growth measures (2 days for pre- and post- tests), OGTs (5 days), PARCC Math (3 days in March, 2 in May), PARCC English (3 days in March, 2 in May), Physical Science or Bio (1 day), US History or Government (1 day, potentially).

Are you kidding me?

“Ohio education officials say “double testing” would go on for three years and the state would spend up to $75 million to continue administering the Ohio Graduation Test, which was to be ended after the coming school year.”

FOR THREE YEARS we would put sophomores through that testing regimen?????????

(I can’t adequately comment on the $75 million because I don’t have a point of reference, but I’m sure some of Ohio’s districts who are struggling financially could do WONDERS with $75 million!!)

“Ohio Department of Education and Board of Regents have been working since 2009 on a new college- and career-ready assessment system. The new graduation requirements were finalized nearly a year ago, with implementation set to begin in the 2014-2015 school year.

…But efforts to raise the academic bar for Ohio schools began to unravel a few months ago when Department of Education officials realized that a change to state law was needed to discontinue usage of the Ohio Graduation Test after the upcoming school year….The Ohio Board of Education asked lawmakers to include the change in the recently passed state budget, but legislative leaders refused.”

1) Why was the need to change the law just discovered a few months ago?
2) What on earth are these “legislative leaders” thinking?
3) I am assuming there is some political bickering and such going on behind the scenes with this. I can’t get the phrase “dumb dumbs” out of my mind for some reason…
4) Uh, hello? There are KIDS involved in this mess–testing them using two different high-stakes systems is unfair and, frankly, immoral. This is the issue of unprepared legislators and policy makers. You guys figure this out without punishing kids who have NO SAY.

“But more eleventh-hour legislative changes could be coming.”

If I’ve learned anything about eleventh-hour legislative changes (I.e. Governor Kasich’s Value-Added OTES increase from 10% to 50%), they are hardly beneficial.

“Stebelton said some lawmakers have questioned whether 10 end-of-course exams are excessive. In addition, new online assessments for elementary and middle-school students to reflect Common Core standards have raised concerns for districts with insufficient computer and Internet access.”

Uh. Duh.

“Rep. Andrew Thompson, R-Marietta, plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to repeal the use of Common Core standards in Ohio. He and other conservatives say the curriculum guidelines represent a federal takeover of schools and undermine local control”

Anyone want to start placing bets on how long we’re all going to keep having the same conversations about this? I would hope they take the time to learn a little about the standards (here is a good starting place!) and what curriculum actually is (Ooo, maybe check out this post) beforehand.

Snarkiness level: 10

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7 thoughts on “Testing in Ohio hits Legislative Snag–Duh

  1. I agree with everything here Christina. The most troubling in all of this is the last part about the CCSS repeal. All of the work we have put in to make this work could all be undone by one “dumb dumb.”

    Also, it seems like ODE is really getting beat up lately. They used to take the legislation and interpret it to put it into place. Now the legislature is dictating to them what to do and will make legislative changes if they don’t like it.

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    • I can’t agree with you more about ODE. Regardless of what people think about the changes as they happen, ODE gets stuck chasing everything the politicians put in place. There are some phenomenal people there who are just as frustrated as classroom teachers.

      Clearly, the buck stops with legislators, who (given their extensive backgrounds in education) are making the best decisions for our kids. (Do I need a sarcasm qualifier here?)

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  2. When I saw this article this morning, I was enraged. It’s time that accountability work its way up to the lawmakers.

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  3. My thoughts exactly when I read the Dispatch article. I’m a solid believer in public education, but if this crap continues to be what we have to put up with, I question if public funding is worth it. I do realize that public education is only way to educate everyone,but the legislature didnt run our sclhools in the past. So frustrating for those of us who care.

    Jan

    Janet Kelly Library Media Specialist Northridge High and Middle School 6066 Johnstown-Utica Rd. Johnstown, OH 43031 740-967-6651 JLKelly@laca.org ________________________________________

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  4. If you want accountability in the legislature, QUIT VOTING FOR THE SAME IDIOTS ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!! Vote for someone else – they can’t do any worse but as long as we blindly keep voting for the same people nothing’s going to change.

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  5. Question: If we are hiring adequate teachers and have adequate tests, why can I not trust the grades provided by said teachers at the end of the school year to indicate that my child has mastered (x)? I graduated in 1981. No OGT. We all seemed to do fine. Full disclosure that I am NOT a common core person. Eventually we won’t need teachers at all. Think about it. The money is spent on “aligned texts” and “aligned tests” and technology. Much of that is written material is copyrighted and you, the teacher, are not supposed to alter it. Soon we will only need a facilitator to keep the kids marching through packaged lesson plans and tests. It won’t happen tomorrow. But teachers and their salaries and benefits are the biggest line item school system budgets. Apparently the plan is to replace that with technology. Just sayin’.

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