From ODE: “Guidance on Student Participation in State Tests”

February 7, 2015


Many districts are receiving communication from families refusing their children’s participation in state tests this spring. The department encourages schools to talk with families about their concerns regarding testing. To help inform this conversation, the department has developed this information for districts and families about student participation in state tests.

The information describes how there is no law that allows a parent or student to opt out of state testing and there is no state test opt-out procedure or form. It also details the consequences for students, teachers and districts when students do not participate in state tests.

Please direct questions to statetests@education.ohio.gov.


February 3 School Levies, Bond, and Tax Issues Right Around the Corner

January 26, 2015

According to the Secretary of State’s office, the February 3, 2015 Special Election includes three school funding issues:

  • Fairfield Local Schools (Highland County, Clinton County)
  • Franklin City Schools (Warren County)
  • Madison Local School District (Butler County)

Complete levy results will be available in the OSBA database.



SECO’s Ohio Science Institute in Columbus January 26–27

January 19, 2015

Registration is open for the Science Education Council of Ohio’s 2015 Ohio Science Institute in the Hilton Columbus at Easton on January 26–27. Featured speakers include:

The conference program is available online, and you can build your personalized schedule on SECO’s mobile app. To register and learn more, visit the SECO website.


From ODE: “Department of Education Recommends Reduction in Testing”

January 15, 2015


The amount of time students spend on testing can be reduced by nearly 20 percent under recommendations made today by the state superintendent of public instruction as part of a comprehensive report.

The legislatively-required report – based upon a survey of testing practices in hundreds of Ohio districts and schools – suggests the elimination of certain tests used for teacher evaluations plus reductions in other tests taken by students in early grades. Many of the changes would require legislative action.

“I am committed to improving testing efficiency and reducing the testing burden on students while maintaining accountability in our schools,” said Richard A. Ross, superintendent of public instruction at the Ohio Department of Education. “These recommendations are in the best interest of students. They will reduce testing and increase instructional time for Ohio’s boys and girls.”

In preparing the report, the department of education surveyed districts, spoke with teachers and stakeholders and analyzed testing data. The survey indicated that the average student spends 19.8 hours testing per year, or approximately 1 to 3 percent of their school year. The survey also indicated that students spend approximately 15 additional hours on practice tests each year.

“Testing serves an important purpose for monitoring and improving student learning,” Ross added. “Each test should contribute to instructional improvement or making our schools and teachers better.”

Legislative recommendations include:

  • Limiting the amount of time a student takes state and district tests to two percent of the school year and limiting the time spent practicing for tests to one percent of the year.
  • Eliminating the fall third grade reading test but providing a summer administration of the test for students who need it.
  • Eliminating the state’s requirement that districts give math and writing diagnostic tests to students in first through third grade.
  • Eliminating the use of student learning objectives as part of the teacher evaluation system for teachers in grades Pre-K through 3 and for teachers teaching in non-core subject areas in grades 4 through 12.

Other actions the department will take include:

  • Working with the federal government to advocate for flexibility for Ohio’s testing system.
  • Monitoring the first year administration of Ohio’s state assessments including PARCC (English and math) and AIR (science and social studies) tests to determine if any changes should be made to ensure that Ohio’s testing system provides accurate data on student performance in a reasonable way.
  • Increasing the efficiency of local testing by finding ways that schools may use a single test for multiple purposes.
  • Exploring whether new state tests can be used for gifted identification.

Separately, the department will revise the new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment in response to teacher concerns about its length and reporting process.

“I believe the report provides a solid overview of the overall testing landscape in Ohio,” Ross said. “This report will serve as a starting point for conversations with teachers, stakeholders and policymakers regarding testing.”

To see the full report, click here.


From ODE: “Register now – 2015 regional meetings on Ohio’s New State Tests, graduation options and Value-Added reports”

January 13, 2015


Get key information for your district in 2015. Attend one of five one-day meetings – Jan. 20, Columbus; Jan. 22, Bowling Green; Jan. 26, Cincinnati; Jan. 28, Cambridge; and Feb. 2, Independence. Registration is available in STARS, keyword Regional Meetings.

The agenda includes:

  • Ohio’s New State Tests – Prepare for the spring 2015 administration of new tests in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Receive a checklist of important dates and activities, the suggested timeline and key dates for the process, protocols and procedures for test administration, and information related to performance-based and end-of-year tests.​
  • Technology Support for Computer-Based Testing – Make sure your district and school technology staff have the necessary details to manage local connectivity, hardware and software needs for the new computer-based testing.
  • Ohio’s Options for a High School Diploma – Get information about Ohio’s unprecedented graduation options for students, including new ways to earn a high school diploma.
  • Value-added reports – With the implementation of Ohio’s New State Tests in science, social studies and at the high-school level, understanding the Value-Added model used for reporting in these new subject tests is essential. This session also will assist in the preparation for teacher-level Value-Added reporting that will occur in fall 2015.

Ho ho ho and Education Grants: It’s the OCESS Annual “12 Grants of Christmas”

December 25, 2014

Looking for ways to fund classroom projects, teacher professional development, and science education change at your school? OCESS’s annual “12 Grants of Christmas” can help out:

  • On the First Day of Christmas…I enrolled my school in the Campbell’s Labels for Education program so we can redeem labels for tons of school supplies and equipment for science, math, art, athletics, educational technology, and more.
  • On the Second Day of Christmas…I contacted my local Wells Fargo manager to apply for funding for an educational project.
  • On the Third Day of Christmas…I contacted the DuPont Office of Education with an idea for an inquiry-based STEM education project.
  • On the Fourth Day of Christmas…I sent an application to the Toshiba USA America Foundation to purchase instructional equipment for my grade 6-12 classroom.
  • On the Fifth Day of Christmas…I submitted an application to the Fund for Teachers for a summer fellowship for a professional development project.
  • On the Sixth Day of Christmas…I wrote a proposal to the NEA Foundation for a grant of up to $5,000 for a project that promotes students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and self-directed learning.
  • On the Seventh Day of Christmas…I dreamed big dreams for a Toyota USA Foundation grant for my K-12 science and math education project.
  • On the Eighth Day of Christmas…I contacted the McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation with an idea for a professional development project to improve instruction at our school.
  • On the Ninth Day of Christmas…I thought up a classroom STEM project to submit for a $1500 Ohio Space Grant Consortium Mini-Grant.
  • On the Tenth Day of Christmas…I noticed that the Verizon Foundation funds a wide range of educational projects that could help my school.
  • On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…I contacted the RGK Foundation with an idea for a project to improve STEM instruction in my school.
  • On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…I applied to Pets In the Classroom to support my classroom aquarium.

And during the rest of the year, you can find even more grant opportunities on the OCESS Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/OCESS) and Facebook page.


From ODE: 2014 Value-Added Reports available

September 30, 2014

District and building EVAAS coordinators will receive an email tomorrow evening, Tuesday, Sept. 30, regarding the release of 2014 district and building Value-Added reports on the SAS EVAAS website. Using the login instructions from their emails, EVAAS coordinators will be able to view detailed Value-Added reports and new resources with all 2013-2014 data except for the teacher reports, which are expected to be released in late October. Also following the release, visitors to the public EVAAS website will see aggregate 2013-2014 information for districts and buildings.

Based on feedback from districts, the Ohio Department of Education and SAS prepared several improvements for the website including a new Accountability Report that will give districts a better understanding about data that is used to produce Ohio School Report Card ratings. In addition, districts will be able to compare their data to that of other districts – and learn more about the relationship between Value-Added and student achievement data. In addition to the three-year average of Value-Added data, each district also will be able to view a one-year report for the most recent year.

To learn more about how to use accountability data for school improvement, please note that there are regional meetings scheduled throughout this fall. See a flyer with details about these meetings, as well as online courses, posted on the Ohio Student Progress Portal. Value-Added leaders also assist teachers or principals in interpreting or answering questions about their reports. Please click here to find the leader who serves your district. Questions about Value-Added resources also may be directed to: Support@BattelleforKids.org.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.