Are students ready for tougher graduation test?

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – As students prepare for next week’s Ohio Graduation Tests, schools have had to do some cramming of their own.

“They had so much scheduled for ’14-’15 it was an incredible mountain of stuff we had to jump,” says Springfield Superintendent Dr. David Estrop.

Next year, the state will begin to use different standards for its graduation and assessment tests.  Known as Common Core, they’re being implemented by states across the country.

Some like Springfield Superintendent Dr. David Estrop think it is setting students up for failure.

“Let’s slow down the implementations of the assessments and some of the consequences,” Estrop says.

Estrop says projections show only a quarter of students will pass some of the tests.

So, we called the State Department of Education to ask if it thinks students are ready for the new standards.

“I think we are becoming prepared for that,” says Department of Education Spokesperson John Charlton. “This year we’re going through a series of field testing.”

We wanted to know why students may not be ready for the new standards.

“Because the old test measured different standards,” Estrop says. “It measured different things.”

Estrop says he doesn’t have a problem with the new standards but compares the speed of the switch to raising a basketball hoop in the middle of the game.

“Current hoop’s set at 10 feet,” Estrop says. “If you move it to 15 feet my guess is even the best are going to have some trouble to adjust to that. That’s what we’re experiencing with these academic tests.”

The other issue is that the tests will be given on-line.

Some districts will have to add more computers and broadband capabilities to administer them.

“I think most school districts will be able to do that without a lot of glitches,” Charlton says.

Paper copies of the tests will be available and the Department of Education is working with schools to make sure they have the technological capabilities.

Still the Ohio House has already voted to delay the new standards a year. The bill is still being looked at in the Senate.

Estrop says the state did ease up on some testing, pushing back the PSAT test a year and keeping the third grade reading assessment, which students must pass to go on to fourth grade, largely the same for next year.

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