Ohio high school testing standards to be raised
Education leaders in Ohio have reached an agreement that will transform the current high-school testing system from minimal standards to a system of higher expectations that will clearly define college and career readiness for graduates.
A nationally standardized college-readiness test and 10 end-of-course/year exams in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies will replace the Ohio Gradu-ation Tests.
The Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Department of Education are developing requirements to seek bids for a nationally standardized assessment to measure student preparation for postsecondary education and the work force. The agencies signed a memorandum of agreement last month as required by state law.
“This is a major step forward in our reform efforts to ensure all Ohio students have the knowledge and skills necessary to leave school remediation-free and ready for their postsecondary experience in higher education or workforce training,” said Michael Sawyers, ODE’s acting superintendent of public instruction.
Ohio Chancellor Jim Petro said the goal is to advance degree-completion in Ohio.
“One of the key ways to accomplish this goal is to ensure students are college- and career-ready,” he said. “Eliminating the OGT and replacing it with a better gauge of college readiness will help students to be more successful.”
The new assessment will be required of all high-school sophomores beginning with the 2014-15 school year. However, pending the outcome of the competitive bid process and the availability of sufficient funding, ODE and the Regents agree that implementation in the 2013-14 school year is possible. The nationally standardized assessment will be provided free to all Ohio schools.
“In addition to the higher expectations, participation in the new assessments will give all students and families the information they need to make informed decisions regarding their future in time to make adjustments,” Sawyers said. “This new provision of state law will permit all students to have access to this information, regardless of the ability of individual school districts to be able to afford this option for students.”
Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the OGT will be replaced by a series of end-of-course/year exams in core high-school subjects, including English I, II and III; Algebra I; Geometry; Algebra II; Biology; Physical Science; American History; and American Government.
Student performance on these required tests is expected to be part of the student’s course grade and a factor in Ohio’s revised accountability system. A transition plan is being finalized for full implementation of the new requirements for Ohio’s students and schools.
“We cannot expect our students to be post-secondary ready for college or careers if we do not increase our minimal standards to allow our students to successfully compete,” said Debe Terhar, president of the state board of education. “The higher expectations and next generation of assessments coming to Ohio and many other states is long overdue for our students.”