Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law last week that modifies student requirements to provide relief for end-of-year assessments for Ohio students.
The law, which aims at providing students with relief during the pandemic, will apply for a single school year. It was co-sponsored by state Reps. Adam Bird (R-66-New Richmond) and Kyle Koehler (R-79-Springfield).
In addition to modifying graduation requirements and extending end-of-year testing windows by two weeks, it also allows students in grades 11 and 12 to use end-of-course grades in place of mandated tests to fulfill graduation requirements, waives the state-only American History assessment and allows students educated at home to skip end-of-year assessments.
“With the wide inequity of preparation of schools, teachers and students and the wide variety of learning platforms being utilized during the pandemic, it’s only fair that we provide schools, teachers and students with flexibility when it comes to end of year assessments,” Bird said in a statement last week.
The law, named House Bill 67, passed nearly unanimously in the legislature.
The Ohio Education Association voiced support for the legislation during an education committee meeting in February.
“Passage of HB 67 is vital because of the need, this school year in particular, to give educators time to teach. Ohio’s students have had their learning opportunities disrupted. In order to prioritize safety, it has been necessary for many districts to operate remotely or using a hybrid model. However, we know that time in the classroom is critical to student success,” said Jeff Wensing, vice president of the OEA. “Testing comes at a cost. I’m not talking about the cost to the state in terms of dollars (while that is considerable). There is an opportunity cost to testing. Time spent on testing means less time for teaching and learning. Less time for meeting the needs of students.”
The law originally began as a bill to seek a waiver for all federally mandated testing for the 2020-2021 school year, before the U.S. Department of Education issued a notice that it would not be issuing such waivers.
“Substitute House Bill 67 has one single purpose: to provide relief to students who are returning to school so that these tests have as little impact on them as possible for this school year and this school year only,” Koehler said in a statement.
The legislation is effective immediately.
– – –
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.
Photos “State Rep. Kyle Koehler” and “State Rep. Adam Bird” by Ohio House of Representatives.