Ohio legislation trying to reduce the amount of state school testing starts with a small step

House Bill 239 wants to eliminate four tests taken by high school students.

Ohio legislation trying to reduce the amount of state school testing starts with a small step
Ohio House Bill 239 is trying to reduce the amount of standardized testing for students. (Source: Pixabay)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -House Bill 239 (HB 239) wants to reduce the amount of time Ohio students spend taking state mandated tests.

As a first step, the bill targets four end-of-course tests taken by high school students in the areas of geometry, English language arts I, American history, and American government.

Instead of taking the tests, the bill sponsor State Representatives Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), wants Ohio to go back to federal minimums that do not require a final test to pass the courses.

"As a retired educator of 37 years, I believe we rely too much on high-stakes testing,” Manning said.

While those are the only tests this bill looks to eliminate, its the start of a conversation to give more control to districts when it comes to standardized testing.

“Teachers spend so much time teaching to prepare students for the tests,” Manning said.

“Less testing will give educators the flexibility to incorporate more creative, hands-on approach to learning. I believe it will restore some creativity that has been lost over the years.”

Avon Lake City Schools Superintendent Bob Scott agrees the current state of testing is not working.

“It’s been wrong from the beginning,” Scott said.

"The districts that struggled 20 years ago, they’re still struggling. We need assessments, we need data but stand alone tests you take once a year aren’t it.”

Currently there is a cap on how much time a district can spend on getting students ready for the state tests, set at 2% of the school year.

There is a 1% of the school year cap on how much time can be spent on practice tests.

If a district wanted to exceed those caps, the local school board had to approve a single resolution that stands forever.

Manning wants change that too in this new legislation.

“HB 239 would make the passing of the resolution occur on an annual basis,” Manning said. “If a local school board chooses to pass a resolution, it may spur conversation from parents and community members about the time students spend being tested.”

Lastly, HB 239 would require every district to create a work group comprised of educators and parents who would looking to testing standards and discuss how to reduce the amount of testing time.

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