Ohio makes standardized testing switch to AIR

Athens, Ohio – Last week the state decided to abandon PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) as its Common Core test provider and contract with AIR (American Institutes of Research) for Ohio’s testing next year. AIR already administered the science and social studies testing, but will now also administer the math and English tests as well. The move came as Gov. John Kasich signed the state’s two-year budget and agreed with state Senate and House leaders that the PARCC tests must go.

Dr. Courtney Koestler, director of SEOCEMS (SouthEast Ohio Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science) and a faculty member of the Department of Teacher Education at Ohio University, is available to comment on Common Core testing in public schools.

According to Koestler, many school districts in Ohio (and in many other states) struggled with the implementation of PARCC. “Many schools lack the amount of computers necessary, and even those who have a lot of computers didn’t have the necessary bandwidth,” said Koestler. “If the new testing system that Ohio adopts is still conducted via computers, I anticipate a lot of the same issues and this will remain a big cost for school districts.”

Koestler was a K-8 public school teacher for seven years, serving both as a classroom teacher and a mathematics specialist and coach, and for the past 10 years has been a university-based teacher educator and researcher.

“My hope- and this is something I discuss a lot with teachers and parents- is that assessments will emphasize deeper understanding, and will be significantly shorter; however I have heard very little about the nature and the scope of the new tests that are under consideration,” said Koestler. “I believe there needs to be much broader conversations about the value and need to assess children in these ways every year.”

Koestler has written and conducted research about children’s mathematics, mathematics teacher education (especially in regard to diversity, equity and social justice) and the Common Core State Standards- Mathematics, and recently wrote a book about the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.