North Union Local School District News Article

Major State Changes in the Air

When the District Report Card is released later this year, it will begin the “Major Changes” that will be coming to Ohio public schools. There will no longer be ratings of “Excellent” but an “ABC” type of report. In 2013, there will only be grades in 4 sections of the report card. There will not be a composite grade. Over the next few years, all student assessments will be changed. The “new” Report Card will now have a six category system instead of the four category scoring system in previous years. The standard will be raised for passing indicators and what students will need to know to pass the state requirements. This will be the last year of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) for high school students and the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) for grades 3-8. However, the passing rate will raise from 75% to 80% for the 2013-2014 school year. Over the next 5 years, the state will blend outgoing tests and new incoming assessments, as the state transitions from OGTs to Ten End of Course Assessments in high school (3 English, 3 Math, 2 Science and 2 Social Studies). Grades 3 – 8 will move from OAA testing to a national test involving 22 states called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The state experts tell us that the district’s current data has established us a rating of “Excellent with Distinction” which will most likely be a “C” rating on the new scale. We knew this was coming and have been preparing for these changes in the following ways:

  1. Teachers have created new curriculum maps to align the new common core standards from the last two years.
  2. The district has been a part of the Ohio Performance Base Pilot Project (OPAPP) for three years. They have learned about the new test question design and the students have participated in on-line tests as part of this pilot.
  3. The district has been using the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP tests), to track the strengths and weaknesses in our programs and students retention. Individual intervention is available to students needing extra academic help. This might be done in the classroom in small groups or the student may be assigned a study island area. It could also be in the form of a class project, extra tutoring , or an after- school program.
  4. The district began a 1:1 ratio of computers to students last year in the middle school. This 1:1 philosophy will expand to the 9th and 10th grades in the 2013-2014 school year. The reason for the 1:1 ratio is because the new testing system will be all on-line and will require a multitude of technology skills. Some of the technology skills required include research, listening, reading, gathering information from a website, watching videos, etc. Students must then synthesize the information and type out answers.
  5. The district is working on providing more lessons that involve multiple skills to better prepare for these upcoming changes. These are called Performance Based/Gold Seal Lessons and require students to do many steps and students will be assessed in multiple ways.

Don’t be shocked with all the changes! We have not seen the new test and are shooting at a moving target. As more information is provided, we will make adjustments and target learning so our students can be successful. Change often comes with a bit of stress, anxiety, and fear of the unknown. I wanted share this information with you in the hopes that it will be beneficial for our students as we work together getting through the upcoming changes.

Have a great 2013-2014 Wildcat year!

Dr. Rick Smith, Superintendent

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