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Ohio lawmakers scrambling to change standardized testing deadlines weeks before they begin

Laura Hancock and Emily Bamforth, |

The Ohio General Assembly can’t pass House Bill 67 in its current form because the measure would instruct the Ohio Department of Education to seek permission from the U.S. education secretary to not have standardized tests this year.

Lawmakers are now reworking the bill to comply with the federal government’s requirements. The U.S. Department of Education will allow public schools to alter how the tests are administered. For instance, they can be given at a later date or a shorter form than tests during other years. “It’s too late to shorten the test,” said Rep. Gayle Manning, chair of the Ohio House Primary and Secondary Education Committee, a Republican from North Ridgeville. “The printed tests are already going out to the schools. They start March 22. It takes the schools a while to get them organized, send them out by each grade.”

However, lawmakers are looking at giving schools more time to give the tests. The Ohio Department of Education already moved three of the tests to May 15, she said. Lawmakers are thinking “why not go until the end of the school year? And so I had a discussion with ODE on that and they said, ‘If you do that you’re going to have to give us more time to get the results back because that’s in statute,’” Manning said.

Currently, the public gets to look at the school report cards around Sept. 15. Manning said that the substitute version of House Bill 67 may push that deadline to a later time. The reworked, or substitute, version of HB 67 will also specify that standardized tests will not impact graduation requirements. Nor will they be a factor in end-of-course grades, Manning said.

Some students are headed back to in-person school for the first time this spring in about a year a year. Teachers will need to help them adapt to the classroom environment again, while preparing for tests. “I don’t know a single educator that says, ‘Oh yeah, I’m really happy a significant amount of the chunk of instructional time I have between now and the end of the school year will be devoted to testing,’” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “It’s a waste of time.”

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