Dublin Villager

New graduation tests don't worry educators

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State-required tests that will replace the Ohio Graduation Test aren't worrying Dublin City Schools.

The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Board of Regents recently announced the move from the OGT to 10 end-of-course/year exams and a college readiness test.

"This is a major step forward in our reform efforts to ensure all Ohio students have the knowledge and skills necessary to leave school remediation-free and ready for their post-secondary experience in higher education or workforce training," Michael Sawyers, ODE superintendent of public instruction said in a news release.

Dublin City School District Superintendent David Axner said the district has already been concentrating on getting students college ready.

"I think we're ahead of the curve," he said. "For a few years now we've had teachers working on semester and final exams that are course specific."

The tests that will replace the OGT include 10 end-of-course/year exams in high school courses including English I, II and III; algebra I and II; geometry; biology; physical science; American history; American government; and a nationally standardized college readiness test.

The tests are still being developed, but the aim is to have sophomores take the new tests in the 2014-15 school year. The new tests could be instituted as soon as the 2013-14 school year if they can be developed in time.

Student performance is expected to be part of the student's grade, the release said, and work as a state indicator.

Anxer said he welcomes the new challenge.

"We welcome the change," he said. "The plan is to make exams much more rigorous. The OGT was such a minimum standard. If the student scored and was able to answer a little over a third (of the questions) they could pass each subject area. It's a little more rigorous and a little more challenging, but the changes they are making I think raises the stakes."

Having schools across the state and the nation take the same tests will also give Dublin City Schools some competition.

"It's a little different when you're doing it on your own," Axner said. "Now everyone is doing it. You see where you land. Saying that, I think we're in a much better position. It's been three years now (we've been) working on college readiness."

To get students college ready, Dublin City Schools have been offering more college testing preparation and encouraging students to take college assessment tests such as the ACT and SAT.

Student scores on the ACT and SAT have increased in recent years in the district.

"You've seen the ACT scores. They're a perfect example of that. That didn't just happen. We've got good kids walking in the door, but we work with them in middle school," Axner said. "We're really proud college readiness has been a focus. The majority of our kids go to four-year institutions or get education past high school."

On the 2011-12 state report card, Dublin sophomore and juniors scored proficient or higher on all the OGT tests by 92 percent or better. Axner said scores may dip when the new tests are instituted, but that's expected.

"We won't have 99 and 100 percent passage rates we have with the OGT, but in the end we will see the scores climb," he said. "With the OGT the same thing happened."

 

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