By Greg Smart
HUBER HEIGHTS —As a result of the recent state budget, the amount of testing for schools has been reduced.
In the budget bill signed by Governor John Kasich was the elimination of the unpopular Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests which accompany the Common Core that were developed for the areas of math and English. It will be replaced with AIR (American Institute for Research) tests.
Huber Heights City Schools Superintendent Susan Gunnell Gunnell said there is now a requirement for only one “testing window” later in the spring. Previously, third graders took the third grade reading test in the fall and the spring. Gunnell said that when she provided testimony at the state level and listened to the concerns of other districts, there was “great concern” about the amount of time that students were testing and concern about this limiting instructional time and the use of technology for instruction because it was being used for the assessment.
“I think this was a response to listening to those concerns and of course, everyone still believes in accountability and we know that there needs to be assessments,” said Gunnell. “But, it looks like they tried to listen and respond to the amount of time that was spent on assessments, especially this last year.”
Gunnell said there will be a pretty short window of time to develop the new tests as the expectation is that these new tests will be administered for the 2015-16 school year in the spring through AIR.
‘I think the reduction in the amount of time for testing so that we actually have more time for instruction is a good thing,” said Gunnel.
State Senator Peggy Lehner, a Kettering Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said that the volume of complaints about PARCC assessments was overwhelming and focused on the time students spent taking the tests, the amount of district resources needed to administer the tests, and technological glitches.
“The reason we recommended the change had nothing to do with the content of the exams,” said Lehner.
Lehner said the benefit of the AIR assessments are that they are shorter and can be taken in a single testing window.
“The AIR will not be as disruptive,” she said.
Lehner expressed concerns about implementing another testing regimen, but said that her support of the controversial Common Core standards has not wavered.
“We hope to stick with the same tests for a long period of time,” said Lehner. “It takes a while to adjust to new tests, and there will always be some problems implementing new tests. We are looking for as much stability as possible which is why I don’t want to get rid of Common Core.”
Editor’s Note: Darrell Wacker also contributed to this story.
Greg Smart may be reached at 937-236-4990, ext. 2542 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.Greg Smart may be reached at 937-236-4990, ext. 2542 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.