State testing window for Ohio schools begins today; 2 tests eliminated

Today marks the beginning of the annual state testing window for local schools, but many districts won’t begin testing students for at least another week.

The testing window for “English language arts” runs for five weeks, from today through April 27. The window for tests in math, science and social studies runs for six weeks, from April 2 to May 11. In each case, schools have to select a period of 15 consecutive school days within that window to give those tests.

RELATED: Two state tests eliminated for Ohio students

Troy schools started state English testing today, and Kettering, Vandalia-Butler, Trotwood and Centerville start next week. But more than a dozen local districts don’t start until the week of April 9, while Bethel and Greeneview schools don’t begin until April 17. Testing schedules are also affected because many local schools had spring break last week (Kettering), this week (Centerville) or next week (Dayton).

“The message we try to send about these tests is it’s important for students to be able to show what they have learned,” said Huber Heights Superintendent Sue Gunnell, whose district begins testing April 9. “But we also stress to them that this is just one piece of information. … There are many other things they do every day to show what they are learning.”

LAST YEAR: Schools finally get a year without testing changes

There is one significant change in testing this year. In response to an outcry about overtesting, the state legislature voted to eliminate the fourth- and sixth-grade social studies tests.

The state school board has also recommended elimination of the high school English I state exam and the WorkKeys exam for certain career tech students. But those changes have not yet been approved, so those tests remain this year.

RELATED: State school board seeks even more testing cuts

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Students in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 will take two state tests — English and math, each of which is broken into two parts. So most students in those grades will have four days this spring where they take a 1-2 hour test. Students in grades 5 and 8 will add the two-part science test, meaning they’ll likely test on six days this spring … although some districts take the science test all in one day.

High school students’ state tests are “end-of-course exams” so how many tests a student takes each year depends on what courses they are taking. There are a total of seven end-of-course exams — two in math, two in English, plus biology, American history and American government. It is fairly common for freshmen and sophomores to take three two-part tests each year, meaning they would test on six days.

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