Ohio students to ‘test’ the new tests

The Ohio Department of Education is doing a dry run through the tests beginning this month in 2,670 schools across the state. The field testing will help officials find glitches, fine tune questions, iron out technology issues and get feedback from teachers and students before the exams are rolled out for real in the 2014-15 academic year, said Sasheen Phillips, senior executive director of the Center for Curriculum and Assessment at the state education department.

The “Next Generation Assessments” will eventually replace the Ohio Graduation Test for the high school classes of 2017 and later as well as the Ohio Achievement Assessments administered in grades three through eight. The new tests, which will be given online, will be aligned to the new Common Core standards adopted by 45 states.

“They will be more rigorous because they’re aligned to our new standards, which are more rigorous,” Phillips said.

Field testing will begin March 24 for the new achievement assessments and will begin May 5 for the end-of-year tests taken by high school students. The scores on these field tests will not count.

Statewide, 290 districts volunteered to field test English and math assessments and 422 districts volunteered to try the science and social studies tests.

English and math tests are created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, PARCC, which are aligned to the Common Core standards. The science and social studies tests are based on standards developed by Ohio officials.

Some conservative state lawmakers are pushing bills to stop Ohio from using the common core standards and the PARCC assessment tests but state education officials are pressing on with the expectation that the new tests will be used in the 2014-15 academic year.

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