Students might not agree, but the Dublin school administrators are looking forward to a new state achievement test.

Students might not agree, but the Dublin school administrators are looking forward to a new state achievement test.

The Ohio Department of Education last week announced Ohio’s place in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which will mean new achievement tests that gauge how well students are prepared for college or a career.

PARCC is a multi-state partnership that has received federal money to develop assessments for the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics. The Common Core Standards have been adopted by Ohio and 43 other states.

According to Superintendent David Axner, the district already has been focusing on college preparation for students and the new testing could help.

“Once again I’m proud to report that Dublin is a little ahead of the game,” he said. “We’ll fold that into what we’re preparing our kids for. I do believe it should be a good thing depending on how it’s managed.”

The announcement of Ohio joining 16 states and the District of Columbia on the PARCC governing board came last week, and new state achievement tests in English and math are expected to begin in the 2014-15 school year.

“By joining PARCC, Ohio can use state-of-the-art tests for less than it would cost to develop new assessments on its own,” a news release from ODE said. “Samples of new test questions, which will be taken by students online, are expected to be available within a year.”

Tests are also expected to show whether students are on track for college and careers, compare student performance with other states and countries and provide data that could identify students who need extra help.

“What will happen is a shift to more authentic tests,” Axner said. “We’ll get away from more standardized tests that don’t allow our kids to think.”

The tests could help Dublin City Schools in tracking student progress, said Jamie Meade, district director of data, assessment and program evaluation.

The district already forms a diagnostic for students at the beginning of the year and the new tests from PARCC “will be developing a diagnostic for all of the students in the state at the beginning of the year. It’s also bringing in a mid-year assessment, so from the beginning of the year to mid year we can monitor progress,” she said. “That would be really helpful.”

The new tests also could combine tests that use speaking and listening components, thus testing more skills, Meade said.

District officials like that the tests would be done online.

“It will take away all the paper. Right now we’re using forklifts to haul around those papers,” Axner said. “There will be huge benefits. We won’t be lugging all that paper around and the cost to lug it around. But secondly, the plan is instead of the district waiting 60 days for the results, you’ll have the student results within 60 seconds. ... That will improve the ability to provide intervention and remediation.”

“It’s a pretty big project. If this can come in through computer-based assessment, it would certainly help with our efficiency,” Meade said, noting that the district would need long testing windows to get students in and out of testing in computer labs.

The online component of testing will be something the state has to look into, Axner said.

“We have equipment to implement something like this, but there are schools in rural Ohio and other spots that don’t have Wi-Fi access. It’s something the state is working toward and has until 2014. It’ll be a good thing,” he said, adding that the more districts that have online access, the more likely it is that digital learning will be combined into classrooms statewide.

“If they push to get more schools web access there are more opportunities as a district when they start to make more changes state wise.”

“Ohio has a long commitment to high expectations for all students and improving education through meaningful reform,” PARCC governing board chair Mitchell Chester said in the ODE release. “By becoming a governing board member, they will play a vital role in the development of high-quality assessments that provide meaningful data to teachers and parents about student achievement and readiness for college and careers.”