OEA Opposes HB 176 and HB 181: Both Bills Seek to Rehash Prior Attempts to Eliminate Common Core Standards
Testing: OEA opposes HB 176 and HB 181 because each bill would shift gears on students and teachers by implementing yet another set of academic standards and tests.
HB 181: HB 181 would replace all current state tests in grades 3-8 with “norm-referenced” achievement assessments. The same number of tests would be given except for the fall administration of the 3rd grade English Language Arts (ELA) test. (OEA supports maintaining the fall administration of the test as long as it is attached to high stakes student retention). But overall, the number of tests in Ohio would exceed federal requirements by maintaining state Social Studies tests in grades 4 and 6.
HB 181 would replace the 7 current end-of-course exams in high school with “a series of nationally norm-referenced standardized assessments” in ELA, math, science, American history and American government. The number and type of tests is not specified, but there would be a minimum of 5 based on the subjects specified. Federal law requires three high school tests (English, math and science).
In sum, the bill would establish yet another set of academic standards and does little to reduce testing. Feedback from education stakeholders and parents around testing was to 1) reduce the amount of testing and 2) not create yet another new set of tests after they changed three times in three years.
HB 176: The bill would repeal current academic content standards and replace them with standards in place in Massachusetts prior to 2010. HB 176 does reduce the amount of state testing to levels that are consistent with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by repealing the Social Studies tests in grades 4 and 6 and reducing the number of tests in high school to 3 (one in English language arts, math and science). The current tests would be replaced by those used in Iowa prior to 2010.
While HB 176 would reduce the amount of state testing to minimum levels required under federal law, it would introduce a new set of academic standards (no longer used in Massachusetts) and a new slate of tests (no longer used in Iowa). Feedback from education stakeholders and parents around testing was to 1) reduce the amount of testing and 2) not create yet another new set of tests after they changed three times in three years.
Teacher Evaluations: OEA opposes HB 176 and HB 181 because each bill makes proposals disconnected from the teacher-driven OTES reform recommendations recently made by the Ohio Educator Standards Board (ESB). The ESB recommendations have been endorsed by the State Board of Education and are expected to be introduced in legislation soon.
HB 181: The evaluation changes in HB 181 would interfere with teacher-driven efforts to reform the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) based on comprehensive recommendations from the Ohio Educator Standards Board.
OEA supports the recommendations of the Ohio Educator Standards Board regarding how OTES can be improved. The State Board of Education passed a resolution on April 12 requesting the Ohio General Assembly to consider the ESB recommendations to update OTES, which are expected to be introduced in legislation soon.
The ESB recommendations to update OTES are far more comprehensive and educator-focused than the HB 181 teacher evaluation proposal. The ESB recommendations include:
- Embedding the current 50% Student Growth Measure (SGM) into five performance areas: Knowledge of students, Differentiation, Assessment of student learning, Assessment data, Professional responsibility.
- Remove the use of shared attribution in calculating teacher evaluation ratings.
- Maintaining the two- and three- year evaluation cycle for teachers who are rated skilled and accomplished respectively.
- Refining formal and informal observation procedures tailored to meet the needs of teachers in order to focus on improvement and growth.
- Provide professional growth process for teachers rated accomplished or skilled
Importantly, the ESB recommendations will focus on encouraging and supporting growth for teachers and students. Further, they will bring more emphasis to classroom instruction, professional growth, and help to reduce testing.
In contrast, under HB 181, teacher evaluations would continue to focus on rating teachers and students in a watered-down version of the current OTES.
HB 176: Under HB 176, teacher evaluations would be unilaterally adopted by local school boards without input from teachers or guidance under state law.