Ohio Testing Report and Recommendations

In response to the Ohio Governor and General Assembly 2014 request, the Ohio Department of Education conducted a survey of the number of tests administered to students with the intended goal of reducing the amount of time that students spend on test taking and test preparation activities. The report made a number of recommendations including the following: 

  • Limit the amount of time a student takes state and district tests to two percent of the school year, and limit the amount of time spent practicing for tests to one percent of the school year.
  • Eliminate the use of student learning objectives as part of the teacher evaluation system for teachers in grades pre-K–3 and for teachers teaching in non-core subject areas in grades 4–12.
  • Eliminate the fall third grade reading test, but provide a summer administration of the test for students who need it.
  • Eliminate the state’s requirement that districts give math and writing diagnostic tests to students in grades 1–3. 

This report describes current testing practices in Ohio together with the Ohio Department of Education's plan to reduce the number of tests and the time students spend taking them.   

Content Comments 

In this report, the Ohio Department of Education clearly describes its purposes and does a reasonable job of reporting the types of tests typically taken by Ohio students. However, the true value of this publication is the formal documentation of the high number of tests, beginning in Kindergarten, taken by Ohio students as well as the vast, and growing diversity of tests used for different purposes. For example, the existing and growing array of different assessments used for teacher evaluations, although perhaps well-intentioned, can only lead to a system that lacks validity. Additionally, the Department's plan to reduce the number of items on some assessments to decrease testing time, does not consider the possible compromises that may result to the validity of the tests. 

Communications quality is reasonable. This is a state report that is relatively easy to understand. Utility should be high, especially by other states that either have or are undergoing similar efforts to reduce testing time and test-practice activities. Evidence of effectiveness is not described. Unless the Department does a much deeper evaluation of its testing practices, only a modest effect on achieving its purposes seems possible.