After hearing extensively from teachers, school administrators and parents, it is clear that our students in Ohio are overburdened by state assessments. While there is certainly a need for some school assessments to confirm that students are making progress, local control over assessments is the most efficient and effective way to ensure that students are getting a quality education. I am proud to have voted in favor of House Bill 74, which is expected to reduce total testing time by over 50 percent, while ensuring continued local control over assessments used by schools and districts.

According to a survey conducted by the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing, 77 percent of school officials did not think that the implementation of the new state assessments went well. H.B. 74 addresses many of the major complaints the Ohio House has heard over the course of crafting this legislation. This bill would reduce both the frequency and length of state assessments, allowing teachers more time to help students learn, rather than teaching them how to take a test.

By eliminating the winter testing window, this legislation would reduce the state testing window from two tests to one test per year and require that state assessments be taken at the end of the year. In addition to reducing the frequency of state administered tests, H.B. 74 would also decrease the total time that students spend taking these tests by reducing the administration time to a maximum of three hours per test. Across grades K-12, this would represent a 50 percent reduction in total testing time.

A provision of this bill that I am particularly pleased with is the prohibition of online testing until the 2016-17 school year. This will give the Ohio Department of Education time to study the impact of online testing on school districts, as well as evaluate individual school districts’ technological needs. Before we ask school districts to administer online tests, it is imperative that we make sure these tests go smoothly.

It is my hope that H.B. 74 will result in better educational outcomes for Ohio’s students by ensuring greater local control over decision making with regards to assessments.  Reducing the testing burden on teachers, administrators, and students is a much needed step toward making sure Ohio’s children are getting the best education possible.

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