The Ohio Education Association Says Changes to Current Testing Mandates Are Urgently Needed

COLUMBUS – March 10, 2015 – Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Becky Higgins today urged members of the Ohio Senate Education Committee to reduce the amount of time being spent preparing for and taking tests, and to extend to 3 years a moratorium on high-stakes decisions based on student test scores. Read her complete testimony on OEA’s website.

Higgins said current testing measures are flawed. “Teachers are beyond frustrated with the increasing amount of time spent on testing and the way it has crowded out time needed to teach and engage students in dynamic ways. They tell me about the anxiety felt by their students and the growing number of parents who are considering having their children ‘opt out’ of tests. There is a fundamental imbalance that needs to be corrected.”
In her testimony, Higgins proposed four steps that policymakers could take to bring about much-needed change:

“First, reduce the amount of time spent on testing,” said Higgins. “There is too much time devoted to testing. It’s crowding out time for teaching and learning, limiting student engagement and narrowing our curriculum. The disproportionate time spent on testing is being felt by students, parents and educators. It’s time to focus more clearly on our students and their needs.”

“Second, address problems with the tests. The transition to the new tests, including PARCC, is producing mixed results at best,” said Higgins. “A myriad of issues have been raised including technology, lack of timely guidance, tests not properly aligned to standards, age appropriateness of tests, insufficient accommodations for special education students and a lack of timely results from the assessment. These problems must be fixed.”

“Third, use the data appropriately to focus on helping students. Timely data from testing should be used to inform instruction, advance student learning and promote the growth of educators in their practice. It is not appropriate to tie high-stakes decisions to testing results,” testified Higgins.

“And finally, allow time to get implementation right. As Ohio makes the transition to new standards and assessments, there needs to be sufficient time to make adjustments. OEA renews its call for policy makers to hit the pause button and extend to 3 years a moratorium on the use of student test scores in measuring student growth, evaluating teacher performance and any adverse consequence on local schools,” said Higgins.

“OEA believes it is important to limit both the time spent on testing and the use of test results to make high-stakes decisions. The current fixation with testing is sucking the oxygen out of our education system. Students, parents and educators are saying enough is enough,” said Higgins.

OEA welcomes the introduction of legislation to delay the use of high-stakes decisions based on student test scores

The following post was taken from in regards to OEA’s position on high stakes testing.


COLUMBUS — October 21, 2014 — The Ohio Education Association (OEA) today applauded the introduction of House Bill 642 by Representative Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo. The bill calls for a 3-year suspension of high-stakes decisions based on student test scores in measuring student growth and evaluating teacher performance.

“As Senator Peggy Lehner, the chair of the Senate Education Committee, has noted – ‘we are over-testing our kids’,” said OEA President Becky Higgins. “We urge state lawmakers to hit the pause button and determine which tests are actually needed and which are also appropriate for the grade level at which they’re being administered.”

OEA believes that with the use of the new Common Core standards in Ohio schools and the prospect of even more tests being conducted, it is important to take more time to make sure the implementation of these standards goes well.

“We’ve seen what has happened in other states where the hasty implementation of Common Core and the related testing has led to a backlash among parents, students and educators,” continued OEA President Higgins. “We support Ohio’s New Learning Standards, but we want to make sure Ohio gets it right. That’s why we think taking the time to ‘test the tests’ would be a prudent course to follow.”

Last spring, OEA members voted unanimously at their Representative Assembly to support the 3-year delay in the use of high-stakes decisions based on student test results. OEA is pleased that 18 co-sponsors have already signed on in support of Representative Fedor‘s bill.

“We recognize the need for a comprehensive assessment of student growth. But student assessments should not be overly-dependent on the results of standardized tests, “said Higgins. “Students are spending too much time preparing for and taking tests. There needs to be a more balanced approach to identifying the strengths and needs of students.”