Delaware News

Rapidly changing state standards stymie district

Delaware leaders prepared for new ninth-grade tests

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A whole new set of high school assessments have been created for incoming Hayes High School freshmen this year.

The Ohio Department of Education has replaced the Ohio Achievement Assessments and the Ohio Graduation Test with end-of-course exams starting with all 2014 freshmen.

Brad Faust, the district's assistant superintendent, said much remains up in the air regarding the new assessments. Although the assessments are on hand, the district doesn't yet know what standards students must meet to pass.

"I've heard we could have the cut-off scores as early as September or as late as December, which is frustrating for us," Faust said.

The new tests are modeled after traditional college assessments, in which students receive a test at the end of each course, as opposed to taking one long assessment on all courses at the end of the year.

At the end of the students' high school career, they should receive a printout of all their scores for each course they took.

"The reasoning behind these tests is to make sure students are better prepared for college exams," Faust said.

The tests can be taken on paper or on a computer, but the district is pushing to have all the assessments taken via computer.

"We want to make testing as much of a non-event as possible," he said. "We want the assessments to take place in the classroom and be as tech-friendly as possible."

Faust said he believes having end-of-the-course exams is not a bad idea and can be a good measure of how well students are progressing.

Last year, state leaders said 2014 would be the last year for sophomores to take the SAT test, but they have since backed off of this idea, Faust said.

Teachers are continuing to create lesson plans based on the necessary standards, which is what students will be tested on at the end of the course.

Faust said there have been a lot of changes in the assessments over the past few years, and the state hasn't been able to get information out fast enough to accommodate the changes.

"We are already going into testing season and we don't even have the cut-off score information ready. It's difficult when changes are made quickly, and the information is slow to arrive," Faust said.

For example, four years ago, the state adopted a new set of standards called Common Core. The district spent four years aligning its curriculum with those standards.

Now, the state is considering repealing the Common Core standards, Faust said.

"There are only so many hours in a day, and we've spent a great deal of our day working toward these new standards," he said. "After four years, they've decided it might not be such a good idea. This can be very frustrating for us."

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