School officials concerned about new state testing

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) — School testing is about to get a lot tougher next year as Ohio begins to move away from the Ohio Graduation Test and into a new form of state testing.

Some school districts are concerned with the amount of tests students will have to take and if they have enough technology in place for students to take the testing since the tests are computer-based.

Officials with the Trumbull County Educational Service Center have been hammering out details of how students in the 31 school districts will be taking the New Learning Standards tests.

Bill O’Hara, director of curriculum and instruction for the Trumbull ESC, said the new testing will involve more testing sessions.

In fact, students in 11th grade could expect to take, on average, eight tests next year from February to May. The tests range on subjects from English, algebra, geometry and biology to American government, American history and physical science.

The first tests in February will determine how the student is performing mid-year followed by end of the year assessments. The tests will use technology to determine if students can apply what they have learned.

“It’s not just about what is the formula and give me back the formula, but what formula do you need and then do you know how to use it,” said Trumbull ESC mathematics supervisor Dana Butto.

The new testing means teachers have to step up their game.

“End of January that everything is covered that needs to be covered and then from the 75 percent to the 90 percent of the school year that is left I am covering the alignment to the end-of-the-year course exam,” Girard High School principal Bill Ryser said.

He said he is concerned about those students entering 10th grade next year, who could be taking up to 13 tests.

“Next year’s sophomores will take the Ohio Graduation Tests. Previously, we did not think that had been extended for them. However, they too will be subjected to those end-of-course exams and performance-based assessments,” Ryser said.

That is unless state lawmakers step in and make changes to Ohio law over the summer.

Ryser said school districts are up to the challenge of getting students prepared no matter what.

“To focus on high quality teaching and learning rather than to wallow in frustration over the intensity that is coming,” Ryser said. “Our role as school leaders is to not render judgment so much as it is to best prepare our students to take that challenge on. I think there is a degree of frustration that a lot of instructional time is lost to assessment, which previously was not that way.”

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