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State report cards bill will be improved; testing bill passed through committee

Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal




Two bills hoping to make changes to Ohio’s education system, one immediately and one seeking long-term change, faced legislative questioning on Tuesday.

The Ohio Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee passed a bill that to alter the state’s standardized testing plan.

Meanwhile, a bill introduced last week that would overhaul the state’s report card system was brought to the House Primary and Secondary Committee by its sponsors, with acknowledgment that the bill would be subject to change.

“We know this bill’s not perfect right, because it’s the beginning stages of a bill,” said cosponsor state Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport.

One criticism was a reduction in the number of gifted students in a district that would trigger that district to report information on their gifted program. The districts would only need to report the information if there is at least 20 students considered gifted within that district.

“A lot of districts are smaller and may not have that many, and yet that seems to be an important measure and information for the parents of students in that district,” said state Rep. Mary Lightbody, D-Westerville.

Jones said bill sponsors plan to meet with the Ohio Association for Gifted Children tomorrow to work on that element of the bill.

The bill’s measurement of students will be delayed for the same reason sponsors of a state testing bill are trying to modify standardized testing across the state, being conducted in the pandemic-shortened school year.

“For some schools, we don’t want to start measuring them right away because, let’s face it, we’ve got a learning gap that we’re going to have to try to fill in the 21-22 school year,” Jones told the committee.

As state report card discussions went on, Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee passed the bill that would change the state’s standardized testing plan, which typically informs state report cards.

The bill, which extends the time allowed to take and report state and federally mandated standardized testing, was passed after it was amended to include the emergency clause the House did not approve as they passed the bill.

One exception to the state testing extensions was for third-grade reading assessment. Sponsors of the bill said previously that the assessment couldn’t be moved because it determines progression to fourth grade.

That bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

This story was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.