As Ohio legislators ponder whether to restructure the new PARCC and AIR state assessments based on the recommendations of a testing advisory committee, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus will hold a public forum on the subject.

As Ohio legislators ponder whether to restructure the new PARCC and AIR state assessments based on the recommendations of a testing advisory committee, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus will hold a public forum on the subject.

"Standardized Testing: Benefits and Costs" will be the topic of the event, set from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 3909 N. High St.

Worthington school board member Charlie Wilson will speak at the event, along with Jo Ingles of the Statehouse News Bureau and Melissa Cropper of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.

David Patton, chairman of the civic education and engagement committee for the League of Women Voters, said the speakers will discuss "the need to understand that the benefits and costs of standardized testing are not strictly limited to money."

"A major cost is the time needed by administrators and teachers to administer tests," he said. "Students incur a cost when taking tests that cannot be measured: their lost opportunity to learn things during that time."

The testing advisory committee, made up of 28 area educators that included superintendents Paul Imhoff of Upper Arlington, April Domine of New Albany and John Marschhausen of Hilliard, gave their recommendations April 29 to the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing. Those recommendations included administering the tests in one testing window instead of two, reducing the number of assessment periods to a single week and administering the tests later in the year.

Wilson said the forum is important after all the debate about the current tests.

"The audience would be anyone seeking more information about the extent of, reasons for and consequences of standardized testing," he said. "This would include parents, teachers, voters and community members interested in K-12 education."

He said people will receive information about the rationale, the extent and consequences of standardized testing, along with information about how other countries approach standardized testing.

Wilson said he believes in local control of K-12 education.

"I believe that teachers, administrators and locally elected school board members should determine the types and extent of testing in their classrooms," he said. "I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all educational system mandated by the federal or state government that disregards the special needs and expectations of local communities."

He also is against the federal or state government dictating what tests all school districts must administer.

"I also believe the testing windows are too long and too early in the school year," he said.

Wilson said the current majority leadership in both the Ohio General Assembly and Congress "have made it clear they don't believe in local control," so some type of state testing will continue to be mandated.

He said he does not believe in drastically changing the current PARCC and AIR tests.

"School districts across Ohio have spent many millions of dollars on professional development, technology, software and training test coordinators to administer the PARCC and AIR," he said. "It would be fiscally irresponsible and educationally unsound to scrap PARCC and AIR after just one year, just to mandate that schools break in a brand-new testing regime with all its glitches and flaws."

He said PARCC and AIR should modify the tests and politicians should let the schools use the same testing system two years in a row, rather than mandating that all schools bear the costs of preparing and administering a different testing system.