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Should Ohio students learning online have to take state tests in person? Some schools object

The Columbus Dispatch |

Representatives of the Ohio 8 coalition, an alliance of superintendents and teachers’ union presidents from the state’s eight largest school districts, discussed the issue during a call with reporters Friday morning. It highlighted pending legislation that could affect an unprecedented school year hit by COVID-19.

Senate Bill 358, introduced Aug. 27, would waive state testing requirements and direct the Ohio Department of Education to ask for test waivers at the federal level. It would also prohibit the department from issuing annual school district report cards this school year and next. The bipartisan bill has received three hearings, the most-recent on Sept. 23.

Districts such as Cleveland and Dayton, however, will be learning remotely during testing dates. Many parents across Ohio are also electing to keep their children learning online from home, regardless of whether their school districts have started a hybrid of online and in-person learning.

That has school leaders questioning if they’ll realistically be able to test every third-grader — and if they can’t, how useful test data would be in comparing or evaluating districts across the state.