Nick Owens, a member of the Ohio Board of Education’s 10th District, informed the London Board of Education members that they are in talks about how to improve Ohio’s standardized testing. Currently there are 22 overall tests for students in Ohio, 17 of which are mandated by the federal government.
“We’re having extensive meetings on how many there should be,” Owens said. “Obviously, we can’t drop below the mandated 17, but we’re looking at what would work for Ohio.” Although the State Board doesn’t have legislative power, Owens said policy-makers often look to the board for guidance. Some of the concern stems from the limitations in information gleaned from standardized testing.
Owens said it doesn’t take everything into consideration.
“Only looking at test results can’t tell you how a teacher impacts a student’s life,” he added. The topic was tied to the discussion of Ohio School Report Cards and how communities interpret and use the data from the report cards. The grades, which were released in September, revealed a mixture of good and bad grades for Madison County Schools.
Owens talked about how high scores often correlate with schools which have the most wealth and that the system ignores other aspects of the education system.
“It’s an important metric to measure local districts,” he said of the cards. For him, both the report cards and the standardized tests can be effective — as long as the data they provide is useful in making improvements. “But if we can’t trust the data, they’re useless.”
The board also recognized the efforts and achievements of both high school and elementary school students. Troy McFarland and Emily Minner were recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars.
Elementary school teachers also helped to recognize the efforts of fourth grade students who participated in International Dot Day. The event, celebrated on Sept. 15, stems from the Peter Reynold’s children’s book “The Dot” in which students are encouraged to “make their mark” on their community.
Other business for Tuesday night’s meeting included:
• Approving routine treasurer items.
• Approving personnel requests.
• Approving an early graduation request.
• Approving OHSAA participation in swimming and diving. The team will function as a club at no cost to the district.
The next London Board of Education meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 17. Meetings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.