Ohio Ditches PARCC Exams


By: Amy Hansen

After a year filled with concerns from parents, teachers, and lawmakers, Ohio is ditching its current Common Core-aligned standardized testing provider.

When Gov. John Kasich signed the state’s two-year budget last night, he cut ties with the national testing consortium known as PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness and Careers.

The first full-year of PARCC implementation was filled with criticism of the exams, especially technology-related problems, along with the sheer amount of time kids spent on testing.

Now, the budget dictates the Ohio Department of Education must pick a new test provider. The ODE will go with the American Institutes for Research, the same company that develops the state’s science and social studies exams.

Here are four important things to know about the state’s decision to end PARCC testing:

This doesn’t change Ohio’s participation in the Common Core. Five years ago, Ohio joined the majority of the country in adopting the set of learning expectations in math and English for students in grades K-12. The budget doesn’t mention ditching the standards. In the past, Kasich has been a firm supporter of the Common Core.

The exams brought along a big cost--both in time and money. Ohio Department of Education spokesperson John Charlton said the PARCC exams cost the state $26 million, plus the many hours of manpower educators and administrators spent to make sure both students and accompanying technology were ready for the exams.

Next year, students won’t be tested as much.  Last spring, the PARCC exams were delivered during two separate time periods. The new budget calls for just one testing window, along with reducing the overall amount of time spent on exams. But there’s no mention of a specific cap on testing hours, other than saying it must be less than the amount of time students spent on tests last year. The Ohio Department of Education estimated the average student logged about 20 hours of testing annually last year.

The clock is ticking. Before a new set of exams rolls out next spring, AIR will be tasked with developing the tests, communicating the changes to educators and families, preparing necessary technology devices, and rolling out the exams, all in under a year.

The Ohio Department of Education will be conducting a conference call later this afternoon to discuss new budget-related education legislation, and our StateImpact Ohio team will update this story with the latest developments.

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