Shorter, less stressful tests are coming kids’ way this school year after Ohio’s disastrous experiment with the PARCC exams, which drew complaints from parents statewide.
Schools will use American Institutes for Research tests instead in 2015-2016.
AIR is “comparable, if not almost identical, to the prior achievement tests,” said Amherst educational services director Michael Molnar.
Like the assessments used prior to PARCC, they are just a couple of hours long and can be broken into multiple sessions.
AIR can be completed either online or with pencil and paper. Since Amherst has invested a lot of money into computers and network infrastructure in recent years, Molnar believes it will make sense to continue testing electronically — and that’s what teachers want, too, he said.
AIR tests how well students have learned the Common Core standards adopted by the Ohio Department of Education.
The Common Core defines what information students at various grade levels should learn in order to move to the next grade level.
Some groups oppose the Common Core, but more often than not the objections have focused on testing, not the content itself.
Amherst superintendent Steven Sayers said the time-intensive PARCCs sapped time from in-class instruction and put a great deal of stress on students’ shoulders, and ditching the tests was a good idea.
“We went through it. Districts across Ohio went through it. And our staff has an amazing ability to make the best of difficult situations and deal with challenges like (testing). Now the state has recognized the need to make some changes,” he said.
“It will be much more manageable for the upcoming year.”
Whether PARCC results from the past year ever see the light of day remains to be seen.
Molnar said he suspects the state may dump the data from the controversial exams.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Michael Molnar, who is in charge of testing at the Amherst Schools, is relieved that the PARCC tests will be replaced this school year with shorter exams that are better received by Ohio educators.