June 26, 2016


Local school leaders OK with state testing delay

A week delay in state testing due to cold-weather school closings is getting good grades from Lorain County school superintendents.

Richard Ross, Ohio superintendent of instruction, said in a Tuesday news release that Ohio Achievement Assessment testing will begin April 21 and conclude May 16. The final week will be a makeup for students absent the first three weeks.

Ross said the frigid weather in January led to “unprecedented challenges” for school leaders.

“They have expressed concern about missed instructional time and the need to prepare students for the assessments,” Ross said. “We feel it is important to provide educational leaders with flexibility regarding the assessments.”

The tests are for grades three through eight. Third-grade assessments are key to new Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements.

The requirement, which took effect this year, calls for all Ohio third-graders to meet a minimum score on state reading tests to advance to fourth grade in the 2014-15 school year or repeat third grade. The requirement includes exceptions for some English-as-a-second-language and special-education students.

Columbia Schools Superintendent Craig Bansek — hired in 2004 and promoted to superintendent in 2009 — said his district’s nine “calamity days” used so far this school year were the most since his hiring. Bansek said he’d have preferred a two-week delay but is happy about the postponement.

“We want to have every available minute to educate the kids,” he said. “It’s been a crazy winter and our teachers cherish that time in the classroom.”

Lorain Schools Superintendent Tom Tucker, whose district has had eight calamity days, said the closings have disrupted the continuity teachers need to educate effectively. Tucker also would’ve liked to have seen a two-week delay but said he was told it might have created problems getting test results back in a timely manner.

Sheffield-Sheffield Lake Superintendent Michael Cook, whose district has had seven calamity days, said prior to the announcement that closing schools is often a tough call for superintendents. They balance safety, educational requirements and parents’ schedules.

“There are people upset either way, whether you call it off or don’t call it off,” Cook said. “We want to be in school as much as we can, but we want to make sure the kids are safe.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

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