A Never-Ending Pain

Autumn Jenkins Examines 2016-2017 End-of-Course Testing

Hundreds+of+students+file+into+the+multi-purpose+room%2C+normally+used+for+the+wrestling+team%2C+to+take+the+American+government+test%2C+one+of+many+state-mandated+EOC+assessments.
Hundreds of students file into the multi-purpose room, normally used for the wrestling team, to take the American government test, one of many state-mandated EOC assessments.

Hundreds of students file into the multi-purpose room, normally used for the wrestling team, to take the American government test, one of many state-mandated EOC assessments.

Hundreds of students file into the multi-purpose room, normally used for the wrestling team, to take the American government test, one of many state-mandated EOC assessments.

Autumn Jenkins, Editor-in-Chief

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Students at Northmont High School began the end-of-course (EOC) state testing on Thursday, April 6. EOC impacts graduations for Ohio’s students. To graduate, for classes of 2018 and beyond, students must earn a minimum of 18 points from the seven EOC tests in English language arts one and two, algebra one, geometry, biology, American history, and American government (education.ohio.gov). However, state testing is more trouble than it’s worth, and graduation from high school should be based on grades and district teacher-created exams.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the end-of-course testing is supposed to “tell us how well our students are growing in the knowledge and skills outlined in Ohio’s Learning Standards. These tests help guide and strengthen future teaching so we can be sure that we are preparing our students for long-term success in school, college, careers and life.” While state testing is supposed to have students’ best interests at heart, its implementation causes stress on students and teachers, as well as reduction of class time and disruption of lesson plans.

The state of Ohio has gone overboard in the amount of standardized tests students are required to take. “Students on average spend 215 hours from kindergarten through the 12th grade on testing, or 1.7 percent of their time in school,” according to The Columbus Dispatch. State-mandated tests determine factors like who graduates from high school, teacher evaluations, and annual state-issued school report cards. Reducing the volume of standardized tests would allow for more meaningful educational time and less state testing preparation.

Some argue that state testing provides objective information that lends itself to comparability and accountability (Thomas B. Fordham Institute). While there is a need for some assessment at the state level, the constant stream of poorly-worded, annual testing is overkill. Student progress should be monitored within their classes. Educators know what their students need better than paid test writers at American Institutes for Research (AIR), according to the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). More in-class monitoring would provide a better handle on education, considering confused students could get the assistance they need when they need it as opposed to doing poorly on standardized testing for years and then learn they cannot graduate due to earlier confusion.

Standardized testing plays an important role in student lives because assessment holds students accountable for their learning; however, the constant pressure to succeed on the numerous state tests is overwhelming. Reducing the volume of state testing would provide a more conducive environment for student education, allowing subjects to be explored in depth as opposed to the traditional cramming to meet state standards. Standardized testing is a necessary evil, but one that can be altered to more accurately fit the needs of students in Ohio.

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