First year of PARCC testing was no picnic for Ohio schools

As Ohio schools transition to new, tougher state tests, this is bound to be a trying year, experts say.

Scheduling struggles, glitches on the online tests and other issues are going to come up in the first year, said Chad Aldeman, associate partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit research and advisory group based in Washington.

“It should be better as time passes and it starts to become more routine,” he said.

But the tests could be axed before that happens.

Public outcry over excessive testing has prompted state lawmakers to propose scaling back on state tests, based in part on the recommendations of state school Superintendent Richard Ross, and allowing districts to choose alternative assessments. Meanwhile, an Ohio Senate advisory committee has begun work to determine whether the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests in English/language arts and AIR (American Institute for Research) tests in science and social studies are right for Ohio.

Among their findings so far: Many educators have denounced the implementation of the new tests and the time earmarked for them.

According to a recent survey that KnowledgeWorks helped organize for the advisory group, about 80 percent of more than 16,500 Ohio superintendents, principals and teachers “disagree” or “ strongly disagree” that the time spent to administer the new assessments was appropriate, and roughly 77 percent “disagree” or “strongly disagree” that the implementation of the new tests went well.

(Read more that the Dispatch)