HB74 pass the Ohio House 92-1, and has a wide range of provisions affecting student testing.
HOUSE BILL 74 SUMMARY (As Reported by H. Education)
Academic content standards
Requires the State Board of Education, within 30 days of the bill's effective date, to provide an online opportunity on the website of the Department of Education to make comments on specific academic content standards.
Requires each academic standards review committee (established under current law), by September 30, 2015, to submit its review and determinations of the academic content standards and state assessments to the State Board and Department of Education.
Requires the State Board, by June 30, 2016, to review the current academic content standards, taking into consideration the input from the academic standards review committees and the comments posted on the Department's website, and to adopt revised academic content standards for each of grades K-12 in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Requires the Department of Education, within 30 days of the bill's effective date, to issue a request for proposals to provide the elementary achievement assessments and the high school end-of-course examinations for administration by school districts and schools beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.
Prohibits certain multistate consortia, or their agents or subsidiaries, from being eligible to submit a proposal to provide the elementary assessments and end-of- course examinations.
Limits to three hours per assessment the duration of the administration of each state elementary achievement assessment beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.
Limits to three hours per year the duration of the administration of each high school end-of-course examination beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.
Specifies that the bill's time limits do not apply to (1) assessments for students with disabilities, (2) the nationally standardized assessments that measure college and career readiness, (3) the third-grade English language arts assessment, (4) any diagnostic assessment for students who did not pass the third-grade English language arts assessment, or (5) substitute examinations in science, American history, or American government.
Reduces, from twice annually to once annually, the administration of the third- grade English language arts assessment beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, and prohibits school districts from being required to administer that assessment in the fall.
Eliminates the requirement for school districts and schools to administer all of the writing diagnostic assessments in grades K-3, and the requirement for the mathematics diagnostic assessments to be administered in kindergarten and first grade.
Requires the Department to specify not less than two mathematics diagnostic assessments that are approved for (1) identifying students as gifted in mathematics and (2) the student academic growth component of teacher evaluations.
Requires the reading diagnostic assessment to be completed by September 30 of each year for students in grades one to three.
Limits the duration of the administration of the kindergarten readiness diagnostic assessment to one hour.
Specifies August 1, instead of "the first day of the school year" as under current law, as the earliest date by which a student may take the kindergarten readiness diagnostic assessment.
Permits a school district or school to administer the kindergarten readiness diagnostic assessment all at one time or in portions at different times, so long as the assessment has been administered in its entirety by November 1 of the school year.
Requires the Department, by July 1, 2016, to make available a kindergarten literacy assessment that districts and schools may use in lieu of the kindergarten readiness assessment.
Requires the Department, by December 31, 2016, to complete a study comparing nationally normed, standardized assessments approved by the Department for specified purposes and the state elementary assessments administered during both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.
Eliminates the English language arts II and geometry end-of-course examinations.
Requires the State Board of Education, by March 1, 2016, to (1) compile a list of multiple assessments that are equivalent to the end-of-course examinations for use instead of the end-of-course examinations and (2) identify a table of corresponding score equivalents that correlate to the current achievement levels (advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic, and limited) for all end-of-course examinations.
Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, requires a district or school to notify the Department of any assessment in a subject area that it elects to use as an equivalent examination, and requires that the notification be made by September 15 of each year.
Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, authorizes a school district to use end-of- course examinations, substitute examinations, or equivalent examinations as final examinations for the related class or course of study.
Specifies that, for purposes of substitute examinations and equivalent examinations, a score of 2 on an Advanced Placement (AP) examination and a score of 3 on an International Baccalaureate (IB) examination are to be considered equivalent to a "proficient" score.
Prohibits a school district from charging a student for (1) any of the nationally standardized assessments that measure college and career readiness, (2) any end-of-course examination, (3) any substitute examination, or (4) any equivalent examination, unless the examination is an AP or IB examination.
Requires the Department to identify and approve at least two assessments that can be used for multiple purposes, including (1) a diagnostic assessment administered to third-grade students, (2) an assessment that permits a student to demonstrate an acceptable level of performance for purposes of the third-grade reading guarantee, and (3) an assessment used to identify students as gifted in specific academic ability fields in reading, writing, or both.
Requires the Department to develop a table of assessments that may be used for multiple purposes and for which a measure of student performance or aptitude is required, in order to reduce the total number of assessments administered by a school district or school.
Requires the Department, within 90 days of the bill's effective date, to determine which components of the resident educator performance-based assessment may be used as part of the teacher evaluation system.
Extends through the 2015-2016 school year a current provision prohibiting the Department from requiring school districts, other public schools, and chartered nonpublic schools to administer any state achievement assessment in an online format.
Requires the Department to conduct a comprehensive survey of the capacity and readiness of each school district for the online administration of the state achievement assessments based on recommended specifications for such administration of the assessments and to report the results of the survey to the Governor, the State Board of Education, and the chairpersons and ranking members of the House and Senate Education Committees by June 30, 2016.
Requires the Department to study the impact on student performance of the online administration of the state achievement assessments and submit results of the study to the General Assembly and Governor by June 30, 2016.
Requires the State Board, by November 1, 2015, to make a recommendation on whether to extend by one year the safe harbor provisions in effect for the 2014-2015 school year for students, public school districts and schools, and teachers.
Requires the Department, except as otherwise prescribed by federal law, to consider as an acceptable measure of technical skill attainment (1) an industry-recognized credential or (2) a license issued by a state agency or board for practice in a vocation that requires an examination for issuance of that license.
Prohibits the Department from requiring a student to take additional technical assessments regardless of whether the student has earned the credential or taken the licensure examination at the time the technical assessments would otherwise be administered.
Requires the State Board to periodically revise the nationally recognized job skills assessment that it selects for use as a pathway to high school graduation and to do so with input from individuals and educators who have a background in career- technical education.
Prescribes the manner in which the governing body of a school district, community school, STEM school, or educational service center must evaluate the student academic growth component of a teacher for purposes of teacher evaluations.
Requires, for the 2014-2015 school year only, a school district or school to use a different measure of student progress for purposes of teacher evaluations, if the district or school has entered into memorandum of understanding with the teachers' labor union stipulating that the value-added progress dimension rating for the 2014- 2015 school year will not be used when making decisions regarding dismissal, retention, tenure, or compensation.
Requires the State Board to submit recommendations to the Governor, to the chairperson and ranking members of the House and Senate Education committees, and to the State Board itself on how to revise by July 1, 2016, the framework for the evaluation of teachers to reduce the estimated time necessary to complete teacher evaluations.
State report cards
Specifies a schedule of deadlines by which the State Board of Education must adopt rules establishing the proficiency percentages required to be considered meeting performance indicators.
Removes the prohibition on the Superintendent of Public Instruction from establishing a performance indicator for passage of the third- or fourth-grade English language arts assessments that is based solely on the fall administration of those assessments.
Delays until July 1, 2017, the date by which the State Board must adopt the high school student academic progress measure.
Makes optional the inclusion of the high school student academic progress measure as an ungraded measure.
Delays until the 2017-2018 school year the assignment of a separate letter grade for the high school student academic progress measure and the inclusion of that grade in a district's or building's overall letter grade.
Requires that a district's or school's overall letter grades, component grades, and each performance measure grade be expressed as a percentage of total possible points, in addition to the required letter grades on the state report card.
Corporate reformers may like to think many of their ideas are new and ground breaking, but as this paper published in 1917 demonstrates, their ideas are old and antiquated. The paper titled the “Problems of Teacher Measurement” was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology by B. F. Pittenger. The full paper can be read below. We've highlighted a number of relevant passages to demonstrate how what was once old is now new again.
Clearly, almost 100 years later, some are still trying and failing. Teaching is far too complex a discipline, with too many variable inputs, to be boiled down to a single number, no matter how fancy ones formula might be.
The Senate Advisory Committee on Testing, appointed March 4th by Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), has completed its recommendations to improve state testing for next school year. The 30 member committee chaired by State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) was created following the rocky rollout of the new state assessments in February. Teachers, parents, school leaders and policymakers serving on the committee were charged with providing advice to the Senate on how to improve state testing.
A written recommendation is currently being prepared. It will include the following components:
The new twice a year administration of tests that occurred this winter and spring should be scaled back to once a year and the tests should be shortened. The testing window should be closer to the end of the school year to provide more time for classroom instruction and less disruption in learning.
Accommodations for children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) must be improved and more clearly communicated to parents and schools. Training must be provided for intervention specialists and paraprofessionals who assist students with IEPs.
Test results must be returned in a timely manner to benefit student instruction – although the group recognized that results from a writing test may not be able to be returned as quickly as the rest of the results.
Transparency – test questions and answers must be made available within a reasonable timeframe after the administration of the tests to ensure the tests are aligned to Ohio’s learning standards and that questions are developmentally appropriate for grade level.
Online testing is necessary and schools must plan to move in that direction; however, local schools must continue to have the option to administer paper/pencil tests for at least the next two school years. State funding for technology based on need should be considered.
A single technology platform is preferable for next year’s tests. Improvements in technology are needed to ensure smooth administration of the tests.
A “safe harbor” must be in place that allows results from this year’s tests to be reported but students, teachers or schools should not be penalized for results this year due to the transition to a new test and the concern that results may not accurately reflect a student’s achievement level.
A comprehensive communications plan must be developed to provide parents, teachers, school leaders and the general public with clearer information about the tests.
If the current vendors for state tests - PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College & Careers) for the math and English language arts assessments and AIR (American Institute for Research) for the science and social studies assessments will not make changes to the test for next year to accommodate these issues, the Ohio Department of Education must find a test vendor that will.
As we wait to see what the Ohio General Assembly presents as charter school reform, Steve Dyer has taken a 3 part look at why Ohio's charter schools just don't work.
You can read part one, part two and part three in full, but here's a brief synopsis of his findings.
...the amount of money going to worse-performing charters is more than $430 million, and if you include charters that perform the same, it's now more than $500 million that goes from the same or higher-performing districts to the same or worse-performing charters.
Charters do worse on the report card than districts with greater challenges. So that means that while charters' poor performance compared with districts overall can perhaps be explained by more challenging populations, districts with greater challenges are doing better. So charters are not, on the whole, doing a better job serving our state's most challenging students than districts with more challenges than the charter faces.
Ohio’s charter schools perform worse overall than all local public school buildings, including those in the Big 8 urban districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown) – the areas where charters were supposed to offer better alternatives. Charters register lower percentages of As and Bs while having higher percentages of Ds and Fs than local public schools.
Remember that 45% of charter school students do not come from Ohio's urban core -- one of the myths dealt with in yesterday's post.
It is exceedingly unfair cherry picking for charter schools to take money and children from every district in the state, yet only have their performance compared with the most historically struggling schools in the state.
Dyer looks at a whole range of metrics to compare charter schools to traditional public schools, including sub groups. Charter schools simply do not work in Ohio. A key test for any charter school reform effort will be if they close down the bulk of the failing schools and create an environment where only quality charter schools can develop. We're still highly skeptical.
We have spent 100's of hours talking to 100's of educators over the last 2 years about standardized testing, and the associated problems. We're under no illusions that the current testing crisis caused by reformers is complex, layered at the local, state and federal levels, and has stakeholders who hold divergent views.
In a perfect world, testing designed to evaluate an education system ought to be grade-span, and only require a sampling of students, akin to NAEP. It is over-kill to test every student in every subject, every year. However, we do not live in a perfect world, therefore Join the Future has identified the following problems, and provides the following recommendations as a way forward
The technology deployment for this years testing has been a predictable debacle. Perhaps half of Ohio's schools felt so lacking in technological capacity that they performed the tests on paper. For the remainder, most lacked sufficient technology to perform the testing in a short period of time, instead having to schedule weeks of testing that caused massive classroom disruption.
The testing software itself was a mess. Technology and media specialists in schools spent hundreds of hours, making thousands of tech support calls to testing companies trying to resolve technical problems with the software. Teachers were provided with inadequate training. Some students had to re-take the test up to 3 times because of technical difficulties. One can only imagine the stress a 3rd grader must have felt.
There was a lack of hardware compatibility between PARCC and AIR testing platforms. School IT professionals spent countless hours re-imaging computers to switch between testing use and general use. School libraries and computer labs in schools throughout the state have been unusable for most of the time tests have been taking place.
1. Schools must be provided with the flexibility to offer paper based testing for at least 3 years.
2. Any testing solution must be platform agnostic and work on desktops, laptops, Tablets and Chromebooks alike, without need for special software or re-imaging.
3. Educators must be provided with adequate time to train on the platform.
4. Students must be given adequate practice time with the testing platform. They don't need to be taking 2 tests in one - one on the intended content and the other on how to navigate a complex software product.
5. Schools must be provided with adequate resources to purchase compatible technology capable of testing the entire student population within one week.
6. Schools must be provided with adequate resources to ensure they have bandwidth to perform the testing seamlessly.
Problem: Testing Time
Testing cannot consume weeks and weeks of instruction time, and be repeated. Schools spent almost the entire month of February in a state of disruption, made worse by inclement weather and snow days, only to have to perform yet more tests in April. If schools had lost the entire month of February to 4 feet of snow it would have been viewed as a statewide crisis, yet that is the practical effect testing had on schools this year.
Testing Time Recommendations
1. Tests need to be shorter.
2. Tests must be align with a typical classroom schedule, e.g. if a typical classroom period is 30 minutes, the tests cannot be 40 minutes. That disrupts two periods and the subsequent schedule all day.
3. Schools need enough infrastructure to perform the tests in a single week, just once a year.
Problem: High Stakes
Attaching high stakes to a new and unstable testing regime is unfair and has caused lasting damage to morale and motivation. Stories of students getting physically and mentally sick with anxiety are common place. Educators have faced a high stakes evaluation system under constant change. Furthermore, it is becoming apparent to most students that the tests don't matter. Outside of 3rd grade and HS, the results of standardized testing has no impact on students, but deeply affects educators and their schools. This mis-alignment of stakes is a huge problem.
High Stakes Recommendations
1. Implement at least a 3 year moratorium on high stakes consequences until the system matures and proves itself.
2. Stakes must be aligned. It is simply not fair or appropriate for educators to face career consequences for tests students are taking, where the students themselves have no stake in the result. We recommend the elimination of student tests scores as a means to measure teacher quality at the individual level.
Problem: Inappropriate Test Content
Testing has been widely criticized for being age inappropriate. Many test questions were deployed at reading ages much higher than the target age range of the test takers. Often times, especially in Math, the root question itself might be appropriate, but couched in language far too complex for the student to comprehend. Not only does this need to cease, it needs to be investigated.
Reports that questions have spread across multiple pages or screens, forcing a student to remember large blocks of complex text, while navigating back and forth have been widespread. Students should be evaluated on content knowledge not their memories or ability to navigate complex software products
Test Content Recommendations
1. Tests must be age appropriate in content and reading level.
2. Questions must be easily navigable, or compact so that students can concentrate on the answer and not a page flipping ordeal.
3. The State should have a review panel to vet test questions in advance, with the ability to veto inappropriate questions.
4. An element of a testing companies contract should be tied to the appropriateness and accuracy of the tests they provide.
5. Test questions and their answers should be made public within 4 years.
Problem: Useful Results
Parents, students and schools should not have to wait 6 months to receive results, especially results performed electronically. By the time this years results are made available, many students will have moved classes, schools, districts and maybe even out of state.
Results need to provide more than a meaningless score. Educators would benefit from results that include identifying a students strength and weaknesses.
Furthermore, who is grading the tests needs to be closely examined. There has been widespread reports of craigslist advertisements for tests scorers, who require little training or knowledge.
Test Result Recommendations
1. Results should be available before the end of the school year, with a portion of a testing companies contract tied to timely delivery of results.
2. Results should include a description of where a student excelled and performed poorly.
3. All test answers should be publicly available within 4 years, with a portion of a testing companies contract tied to accuracy.
4. A system of qualifying test scorers, and evaluating their accuracy is needed.
Evidently the problems are significant and will require time to implement. Policy makers must resist the calls from corporate reformers for quick fixes. It has been their influence and misguided advice that has navigated us in to this crisis. If a test is being performed in a school the first questions ought to be how does this benefit the students education? Is the benefit of the test proportional to any of its impacts on student education?
Parents, students and educators alike would like to see a reduction in the total volume of testing, with the testing that remains primarily aimed at improving student learning.