Welcome to Liberty-Benton Local Schools!
From the Desk of the Superintendent
This month I would like to discuss the impact of testing on our school and our children. Over the past few weeks I have been asked on the ability of kids to opt out of the new tests. This moved us to get information from the Ohio Department of Education. Here is what was shared with many districts facing these same questions:
It's important for parents that their children grow and learn every year in school. This is the promise that most families expect of their public school.
State tests are one way to check the progress of students as they work to meet the expectations set by Ohio's New Learning Standards. Ohio law requires that a school district administers the state-required assessments to all students in tested grades.
Parents may disagree with state tests, but most of their children do take them. When a parent wants to refuse their child's participation on the test, there are consequences for their child and school.
Consequences to the child:
- A student who does not take the grade 3 reading test will not have a score on that test and may be retained.
- A student who does not take the Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition cannot exit the English as a Second Language (ESL) program.
- A student who does not take and pass the Ohio Graduation Tests will not receive an Ohio high school diploma.
- A student who entered ninth grade for the first time after July 1, 2014, who does not take and reach the needed score on the test for at least one graduation option will not be eligible for a high school diploma.
- Depending on the circumstances and district policy, an absence on testing dates due to an objection to testing may be considered an unexcused absence.
Consequences to the school and district:
Student participation on state tests is included on the Ohio Report Card for districts and schools and is required to meet the federal No Child Left Behind regulations. Unsatisfactory test results and participation may result in state and federal penalties. For example: if student participation in a district drops below 95% for specific subgroups of students, the district could face new restrictions on how to spend its money pursuant to federal law.
Districts should work with families so that all students participate in state assessments. If a parent refuses to have their child participate in an assessment, schools should give the parents a written explanation of the consequences of that decision for their child and to ask parents to document their refusal in writing.
There is NO state assessment opt-out form.
Any child not taking the test will hurt our district's report card. For example: if we have 100 kids in a class and 10 do not test, then the best we can do is a 90% right from the beginning. If you would apply our "normal" scoring, then our districts letter grades will drop 1 to 2 letter grades if this occurs in multiple grade levels. It will drop our overall scores and impact our districts standing as being one of the best educational environments in our area.
I, too, am not thrilled with the volume of tests we give or the amount of time we spend testing instead of instructing. To remedy this I will continue to voice my concerns with our legislators in the hope it will bring a legal and justified solution. I would encourage you to do the same. That is the best way for this process to come to a proper conclusion. It is a way that will not impact our students or our district negatively.
Yours in Education,