XENIA — Area superintendents are rejoicing after hearing that Ohio lawmakers said the state could no longer use Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing.
The budget bill, approved by the legislature and signed by Governor John Kasich on Tuesday, essentially defunded PARCC administration in Ohio, forcing the Ohio Department of Education to find a new math and English test for grades 3-12.
The ODE acted swiftly and Wednesday afternoon announced it will utilize American Institutes for Research (AIR) — which already provides science and social studies for Ohio — to administer the English and math tests.
PARCC was the focal point of complaints from teachers, educators and the general public, who had myriad problems with the system, utilized by 12 states prior to Tuesday.
“I must admit, I am happy to see PARCC go away,” said Cedar Cliff Local Schools Superintendent Chad Mason. “I hope the consistent over-reliance on testing goes away with it. Then, maybe we can get back to instilling a love of learning and teaching our children more than the mere testing of information and focus on the skills necessary to be successful and productive citizens.”
Educators argued that the PARCC test took away from classroom instruction time and in many cases, cost districts money when they had to pay substitutes to fill in for teachers monitoring the exam’s administration.
“It was a terrible test,” Xenia Community Schools Superintendent Denny Morrison said. “It was taking away literally six weeks of instruction each year. That’s valuable time in the classroom where we lost instruction.”
Greeneview Local Schools Superintendent Isaac Seevers said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the budget decision.
“My concern is that they have left a short period of time for … that company to create an exam to administer for math and English,” he said. “I believe this decision is a step in the right direction but it is just the first step. We must continue to work with ODE to assure that … the students of Ohio will be taught more and tested less.”
Dr. Richard A. Ross, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction, said Ohio will not end its “pursuit of meaningful, high quality” testing and that the exams will be offered only in the spring — cutting down on lost classroom time — and will not be generic in nature.
“We will not be purchasing off-the-shelf testing from AIR,” he said. “These tests will be shorter than those given last year.”
The state spent $26.3 million on administering the PARCC in 2014, according to the ODE. There was no estimate on how much the AIR testing will cost.