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Rep. Fedor Proposes Delay of High-Stakes Education Decisions Based on Student Test Scores

Teachers, students deserve time to implement standards effectively
October 23, 2014
Democratic Newsroom

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) introduced legislation today to institute a three-year suspension of high-stakes decisions based on student test scores in measuring student growth and evaluating teacher performance. In June, the legislature voted to suspend high-stakes decisions based on test scores for the 2014-2015 school year, but schools say one year does not provide enough time for a successful transition.

“Ohio’s New Learning Standards and related assessments have taken effect this year, and deliberate implementation is critical to ensuring that the transition to higher-level standards is successful,” said Rep. Fedor. “This legislation would essentially give Ohio’s schools, educators and students the time to implement the standards effectively and without threat of punishment.”

During a suspension – often referred to as a “safe-harbor” period – report card ratings cannot be used to trigger state sanctions, such as making schools eligible for vouchers. Additionally, student growth measures cannot be used to make decisions regarding the dismissal, retention, tenure or compensation of a teacher. 

"Ohio is at a critical moment where the state must decide how to move forward in a way that truly improves public education for our children. The switch to new learning standards shows a serious commitment to our children’s future,” said Melissa Cropper, President of Ohio Federation of Teachers. “However, testing continues to be an obstacle to a vibrant learning environment when instructional time is lost to hours of tests and test preparation - this is a poor frame for teaching, learning and understanding. A three-year pause on the high stakes decisions attached to testing will give Ohio time to make thoughtful decisions about the next steps in educating our children and what role testing should have in that process.”

H.B. 642 was referred to the House Education Committee, and has yet to receive a committee hearing. To date, 18 legislators have co-sponsored the legislation.