Last updated: March 09. 2014 10:32PM - 505 Views
By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com

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DARKE COUNTY - With state testing less than a week away for some students, educators from around Darke County weighed in on the effects of so much missed school, and whether or not they feel their students and teachers are prepared.

County superintendents were in agreement that despite up to 12 days of instructional time missed, students and teachers are working diligently to be prepared for state testing.

“With the Ohio Department of Eeducation changing the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) testing window by moving it back a week, we will at least have a few more days to prepare for testing,” stated John Stephens, Arcanum’s superintendent. “I believe that teachers feel the weight of testing more so than ever this year because of the impact the students’ performance now has on their final summative evaluations and any missed instructional time adds to those concerns. I do believe in our teachers’ abilities to prepare the students and appreciate all of their efforts to adjust schedules and instructional plans as they see fit.”

This year, the minimum passing rate for students increases from 75 percent to 80 percent, Stephens added, so “the stakes are higher than ever and there is no doubt that missed instructional time can have an impact on results. The missed days and increased stakes do not change our high expectations for student achievement and we will have our kids ready to perform at their best,” Stephens said.

Jim Atchley, superintendent for Ansonia Local Schools and Mississinawa Valley Local Schools, said there is obviously a concern about the missed instructional time, but the additional week of instructional time, with the Ohio Achievement Assessment date being moved, should allow students to make it up.

Versailles Superintendent Aaron Moran reported that students in his district don’t have any additional days to make up as of now, through the use of e-days and the allotted calamity days, and the teachers and students of Versailles Schools are working to make sure they’re prepared for the Ohio Graduation Test, which begins next week.

“The more time kids spend with our teacher, the better off they are. Our teachers do a fantastic job, and I trust them to continue to do that work even though they’ve had less days,” Moran noted. “Our students will be ready to take those tests. OGTs start next week already. But we think our kids are going to be ready and we expect them to do well.”

Doug Fries, superintendent for Greenville City Schools, echoed Moran’s confidence in his own students and staff.

“We’re working hard to always prepare our kids instructionally,” Fries stated. “There is concern that we’ve missed…12 days of school this year; we’ve already made up two. We’re obviously concerned with missed instruction time, as I’m sure all the area superintendents are, but we will continue to work and do everything we can to prepare our kids. We’re thankful that the [OAA] tests were backed up one week, I think it would have been a better idea to back them up two, but we’re appreciative of the one week that we did get.”

In fact, the Greenville Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution at their February meeting requesting that the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Ohio Achivement Assessments (OAA) and Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) testing be pushed back by two weeks.

The resolution declared that “Greenville students (along with many other students in Ohio) have been out of school more than they have been in school after a two-week Christmas break due to inclement weather.”

The request came after school adminstration felt that students and teachers needed more time to prepare for the testing and that the tests results themselves would impact the district’s state report card.

“…the Greenville City Schools Board of Education requests the Governor of the State of Ohio to work with the Ohio Department of Education to push these testing dates back two weeks,” read the resolution.

According to Josh Sagester, superintendent of Tri-Village Local Schools, his students have missed 10 days due to the “harsh winter we have experienced,” but Tri-Village staff and students have been working diligently with the time they have been able to be in the classroom in preparation for the upcoming assessments, Sagester assured.

According to county superintendents, students are on track to tackle the upcoming state tests, and the help at the state level, postponing the testing to give teachers more time to prepare their students, has been appreciated.

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