There have been many questions about the upcoming standardized tests and what the requirements are. At the board meeting on 2/19, Dr. Jill Chin & Mrs. Nancy House, Curriculum Directors, shared the facts about the testing and student requirements.
Overview of the Tests
The new tests being implemented this year come from a company called PARCC for English Language Arts & Math, and a company called AIR for Science & Social Studies. AIR is the same company that produced the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) tests used for many years.
All state tests have two parts: performance-based assessments in February/March and end-of-year assessments in May. Back to top
Who is Tested?
Students in grades 3-12 are required to be tested. This chart shows what tests are required in what year.
High school students, starting with this year’s Freshmen and beyond, are required to take 7 end-of-course tests. There are 2 required for Math, 2 for English, one for Biology, one for American History, and one for American Government. Students MUST take these tests to receive a diploma. Right now, the only two alternate tests permitted are the Advanced Placement (AP) tests for Government and American History. Back to top
- ALL students (Class of 2018 and beyond) are required to take the 7 end-of-course tests
- Students must ALSO accumulate “points” to graduate. These points can come from three different sources:
- 18 points from scores on the 7 tests from #1
- Remediation-free scores on each section of a college admissions test (probably the ACT)
- Industry certification & a work-readiness score on the WorkKeys test
Please note: the 7 end-of-course tests are required even if the ACT score or WorkKeys pathway is used to meet the point requirement!
Please also note: current state law says the graduation requirements in place when a student enters high school are the requirements that student will be held to even if the requirements change. Hence, current 10th, 11th & 12th graders are still taking the Ohio Graduation Test to fulfill their requirements. This means that, as of today, even if the 7 end-of-course tests are eliminated next year, the current Freshmen would still be held to that requirement – unless the law is changed.
Re: the ACT pathway, Mrs. House reported that when she examined the scores from this year’s senior class, only 35% would have passed based on achieving a remediation-free score on each section of the ACT. It is possible to get a solid composite ACT score – even in the upper 20s – and still not meet all the ACT remediation levels for all subjects. Back to top
“Opting-Out” of Tests
There is no law that allows a parent or student to “opt out” of state testing, and there is no state test opt-out procedure or form. There are consequences (such as not receiving a diploma) for students, teachers and districts when students do not participate in state tests. The Ohio Department of Education has information on some of the consequences here and more information on graduation requirements here (this is a Powerpoint for districts, so there are areas where districts are supposed to fill in specifics – that is why it looks “unfinished.”).
Some parents have said this is incorrect, that parents may have their children “opt out” of the tests. As always, parents have the ultimate authority over their children; they can decide what they will do and not do, and they can decide their children will not take the tests.
However, the state wording refers to the legal ability to refuse the tests with no consequences; that does not exist. In addition, there is no formal, approved form to refuse testing.
If you are considering having your child not take any of the tests, please talk with your principal and/or curriculum director before making that final decision. Back to top
Personally Identifiable Information
Some parents are concerned that the state and federal government will be collecting more and personal information on their children. However, there are no new or additional reporting requirements vs. the past: the information collected is the same as it has been for a long time. The state receives the following information on each student: name, ID number, birthday, gender, ethnicity, IEP (if applicable). This information has always been sent to AIR.
The federal government only receives a summary of state information, not individual information. Back to top
The Milford school district has been extremely proactive over the past 4+ years in revising curriculum and implementing approaches that line up with the new standards and the tests. Whether the standards/tests had been implemented or not, the district felt it was in our students’ best interest to focus more on key life success skills: writing, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and more.
We believe our students have been properly prepared for the new tests and that they will do well. The new tests are more challenging, certainly.
And certainly the process of getting up & running with the new tests has taken a toll on everyone – students, teachers and administrators. Any major change like this, especially a change that is a different format (technology-based vs. paper) is hard. Things should get easier each year as systems are put in place and everyone knows what to expect. Back to top