State Testing season is upon us. Although testing has always been in schools, the evolution of the current “high stakes” version is relatively recent.
For nearly 20 years, students across the state of Ohio have been required to take some type of spring assessment. Starting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, state officials began planning for statewide proficiency tests at various grade levels. These proficiency tests evolved into 23 state assessments administered over 10 grade levels.
This year, all students in grades 3 through 8 will be taking an assessment in English Language Arts and mathematics. Additionally, grades 4 and 6 will have a social studies assessment and grades 5 and 8 will have a science assessment. High School courses in English 9, English 10, Algebra I, Geometry, American History, American Government and Biology will have end of course exams as part of the state graduation requirement. All of these assessments will be administered online.
Last year, state testing stretched from February through April, almost 40 days of required testing across the district. Using both PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and AIR (American Institute of Research) assessments, students were administered four or five parts to each reading/math test and two parts to each science or social studies test. This year, state officials eliminated PARCC and changed all assessments to AIR. With that change, we plan on completing all required testing in the Vandalia-Butler City Schools in less than 20 days. For most students, actual testing will take place over four or six days, depending on their grade level, with no more than two hours of testing in any one day. We anticipate many students will finish their assessment well within the allowable daily timeframe.
Last year’s assessment data was not received until well after the current school year started. What we did receive was not useful in targeting strengths or weaknesses in our instruction. State officials promise the data from the current assessments will be returned to districts during the summer. Hopefully, the data will be returned when promised and will be beneficial as teachers prepare for the new school year.
Testing can be a stressful time for students, parents and teachers alike. The teachers and students have been working hard all year learning and practicing many concepts that we believe are important but may never be part of any state assessment. School is a lot more than a state test.
Along with a good breakfast and plenty of rest, be sure to give students ongoing encouragement as they prepare to do their best on these required state assessments. The students are going to do a great job.
Reach Brandon Hartley at 415-6403 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.