Ohio is the most recent state to pull funding from the PARCC Common Core testing consortium after receiving numerous complaints over the course of several months concerning technology glitches with the online exam and the preparation taking up too much classroom time.
Governor John Kasich agreed with the Ohio House and Senate earlier this week while signing the state’s two-year budget plan that the tests, given in math and English, need to be done away with. Doing so brings the total number of states included in the consortium down from 12 to 11.
The approved bill places a ban on the state spending any additional funding on tests offered through the consortium, requiring the state to immediately find a new provider for such tests. The Ohio Department of Education has since named the American Institutes of Research (AIR) as the testing replacement, which already is in charge of the new science and social studies exams in the state.
Just this past year the state spent $26 million on testing from the consortium for both paper and online versions of the exams, reports ODE spokesman John Charlton. While federal grants covered the majority of that cost, Charlton said that both ODE staff members and other educators spent a significant amount of time working on them.
PARCC spokesman David Connerty-Marin called the recent decision “disappointing,” adding that Common Core standards and new exams are “a huge advance and a big victory for students across the country.”
“No one would have imagined just five or six years ago that the Governors of 45 states, Governors from both political parties, would come together to develop a new set of standards to better prepare students for success in college and careers and that nearly half of their states would share one of two tests developed by state educators,” Connerty-Marin said.
The bill states that the new tests will be offered in one round at the end of the school year. Previously, PARCC exams were offered in two rounds several weeks and several months before the end of school. W
hile the bill does not set a time limit on the new exams, it does say they must be shorter than they have been in the past. Students participated in 10-11 hours of testing in English and math this year alone, depending on their grade. Although PARCC had agreed to shorten its exams by 60 minutes in math and 30 minutes in English, that would amount to around a 15% drop at the most.
The state’s use of multi-state standards will continue to be used across Ohio.