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School Districts Urge Ohio to Change How Scoring on Third-Grade Reading Tests

photo of empty classroom table
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau

Three big school districts are pleading with state education officials to take a close look at what they think is a major discrepancy. This has to do with the tests given to see if a third-grader can advance to the next grade.

There are five tests a third-grader can take to assess their reading skills. There’s the state test or four alternative tests.

The Ohio Department of Education sets the score a student must achieve on the state test in order to move on. Then they work with the vendors of the four alternative tests to figure out equivalent promotional scores.

But Columbus City Schools’ Scott Varner says the promotional scores for his district's alternative test is not equivalent to the state test.

“Which creates an unfair roadblock to those students who, simply because they test differently, now must reach a higher score than others," he said.

Akron and Canton are also making this claim.The education department has said it will research the issue and are looking into more data.