Spring brings myriad of state required tests

The arrival of spring means warmer temperatures, longer days, and the sounds of lawnmowers replacing the sounds of snow blowers.
In the world of public education in Ohio, spring’s arrival also means our students will be taking several state required tests.
This month, students in various grade levels will take more than 20 state mandated tests. Students in grades 1-8 will also be taking gifted identification assessments in reading, math, cognitive abilities, and a new category titled “creative thinking ability.”  All of these gifted identification tests are required by the state.
Each of these assessments require an enormous amount of preparation time from our staff and come at the expense of instructional time for students and taxpayer dollars for the materials we must purchase in order to meet the state mandates. No additional funding for Ohio schools accompanies the lengthy stream of state required tests. As these assessments migrate to online formats, the cost of technology upgrades is another accompanying factor.  
We embrace accountability and realize it is essential to maintain the quality of Ohio schools. Dublin City Schools works every day to provide our students with world-class instruction, a well-rounded education and to continuously improve in everything we do. However, our community has provided feedback on surveys and during our Profile of a Graduate work that performing well on standardized tests should not be our highest priority. This sentiment is echoed by the members of our Business Advisory Council, potential future employers of our students, who have shared that social skills and character traits are more important to them than test results.
In the spring of 2017, our academic team conducted 71 focus groups involving more than 670 parents, teachers, students, business and industry partners, city government officials and administrators. More than 2,100 data points were collected to put together the Profile of a Graduate document. This work reflects our community’s priorities and expectations of the skills and knowledge sets Dublin City Schools graduates should possess. The document is divided into three sections: knowledge, skills, and habits. Under knowledge, identified priorities include: well-rounded curriculum, global awareness, civic engagement, college and career readiness, digital literacy, career exposure, financial literacy and internship opportunities. Under skills and habits, traits such as the ability to think critically, problem solving, time management, perseverance, strong work ethic, kindness, empathy, responsibility and self-awareness were among those named as high priorities by our community. You can view the complete document on our website at www.dublinschools.net, under the academics tab.
The Profile of a Graduate document will help guide our work and inform curricular decisions. 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 vital 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.
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