7030 Coffman Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017
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Is the goal of education to create the best test takers in the world?
For many of us, the arrival of springtime means April showers followed by May flowers. In the world of public education in Ohio, the arrival of springtime this year will mean a downpour of state required tests.
Beginning at the end of February, a new round of state required tests will be administered to our students in grades 3-12. In 2004-05, there were seven state mandated tests our students were required to take in grades K-12. Today, the number of state mandated tests our students take is 26 and counting. Between Feb. 23 and April 28 third graders in Dublin City Schools will sit for 10 different assessments in just the subjects of reading and math. Students in grades K-8 are also subjected to a battery of gifted assessments in not only reading and math, but science, social studies, and cognitive abilities as well. These gifted identification tests are required by the state.
All of these assessments require an enormous amount of preparation time on the part of our staff, and cost our district in instructional time for students and in dollars for the materials we must purchase in order to meet the state mandated requirements. No additional funding for Ohio schools accompanies the seemingly never-ending stream of state required tests. More assessments are being moved to an on-line format, requiring upgrades in technology and significant additional cost for many districts in Ohio.
We embrace accountability and realize it is essential to maintain the quality of Ohio schools. However, I ask, what kind of pressure is all this high stakes testing putting on our children? Is the goal of public education to create the best test takers in the world? For our District, the goal of public education is to help students become well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the world of work and higher education. Dublin City Schools works every day to provide our students with world-class instruction and a well-rounded education and to continuously improve in everything we do.
Our students deserve a well-rounded education beyond test scores, and need tools for success that go far beyond the skills they need to perform well on standardized tests. Creativity and innovation, the ability to think critically, communication skills, collaborative work, global awareness, financial literacy, information literacy and more are crucial components of our students’ overall development. These skills play a critical role in getting our students career and college ready. In Dublin City Schools, with the help of our extremely supportive parents and community, we are ready to meet these ongoing challenges in order to ensure our students receive a well-rounded education.
Our goals for this school year further bear out our commitment to our mission. Our 2014-15 goals are:
• What might a world-class gifted education program look like in Dublin City Schools?
• What should a middle school day look like in an ideal world?
• What is the most fiscally prudent plan to address our student housing needs while providing children with well-rounded experiences?
• How can we allocate our Human Resources to best ensure all our students receive world-class instruction, every day?
Not one of these goals involves increasing scores on standardized tests. These goals were formulated and will be met and implemented based on what’s best for students and our commitment to continuous improvement.
Simply acknowledging that testing is overemphasized in today’s public education system does not fix the issue. In recent weeks and months, we’ve seen some cautiously optimistic signs the realization we are over-testing our kids is beginning to gain traction with legislators. There are some proposals being floated to reduce the number of hours our students spend taking state required tests. This is a step in the right direction. In closing, I ask that if you have concerns about the number of mandated standardized tests our students are forced to take, please contact your state legislators.
Todd F. Hoadley, Ph.D.
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7030 Coffman Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017
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