On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, the Senate Education Committee held its first hearing of the new session of the General Assembly. The committee heard testimony from Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Richard Ross about his recently completed report on recommendations to reduce the burdensome time currently devoted to standardized testing. Ross stated that the recommendations, if enacted, would reduce the time spent on testing by approximately 20%.
The report states that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will take a number of actions to address the testing issue. These actions include:
- Working with the federal government to advocate for flexibility in the testing system.
- Monitoring the first administrations of the new tests.
- Finding ways to use a single test for multiple purposes.
- Exploring whether new state tests can be used for gifted identification.
The report also made a number of legislative recommendations that require a change in law. These recommendations include:
- Limiting the amount of time a student takes state and district tests to two percent of the school year.
- Limiting the time spent practicing for tests to one percent of the school year.
- Eliminating the fall administration of the third grade reading test while providing an opportunity to take the test in the summer for students who need it.
- Making math and writing diagnostic tests in the first through third grades optional.
- Eliminating the use of student learning objectives (SLOs) as part of the teacher evaluation system.
The full report on testing and recommendations from ODE can be viewed by clicking here.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Senator Peggy Lehner (R- Kettering), Chair of the Senate Education Committee, announced that she plans to hold several weeks of hearings on the issue of testing. Next week the Committee will hear from school district superintendents. Future hearings are planned for teachers, school board members and the general public.