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Ohio K-12 school testing still on for spring, as legislature waits

Jeremy P. Kelley, Journal-News |

After a test-free spring due to COVID-19 closures, Ohio’s K-12 students are on track to take their usual state tests again in spring 2021 after the state legislature declined to approve a bill to alter that process.

Last-minute changes for this spring are still possible before the testing window opens March 22. Most of Ohio’s state tests are federally mandated, and the transition team of incoming president Joe Biden has not made clear whether they’ll make testing waivers readily available to states.

Outgoing Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Peggy Lehner said Republican leadership wanted to wait to see what happened on federal waivers before taking action on testing law.

Ohio’s state legislature did approve language to ensure that any spring 2021 state test results would not be used to punish low-scoring schools in a pandemic-roiled year. The recently passed House Bill 409 means a school could not face mandatory restructuring or be taken over by an Academic Distress Commission based on spring 2021 scores. Charter schools would not face potential closure or sponsor sanctions due to poor scores, and public schools could not become newly subject to private-school vouchers.

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