Ohio House Bill 7 appears to finally recognize the “opt-out” issue that the state is having to deal with as many parents are intentionally choosing to refuse to have their children participate in the expanded administration of standardized tests that are draining away instructional time from the classroom.

The bill essentially provides a one-year reprieve for this school year to prevent almost any student or school from being penalized by the 2014-15 tests.

As described in the bill analysis:

  • Prohibits public schools from utilizing, at any time during a student’s academic career, a student’s score on any elementary-level state assessment or high school end-of-course examination that is administered in the 2014-2015 year school as a factor in any decision to (1) retain the student, (2) promote the student to a higher grade level, or (3) grant course credit.
  • Prohibits the release of individual student scores on the state elementary assessments and high school end-of-course examinations administered in the 2014- 2015 school year, except to a student’s school district or school or to a student or student’s parent or guardian.
  • Authorizes a student to take an end-of-course examination at a later time in the student’s academic career if the student did not take, for any reason, an end-of-course examination on that examination’s scheduled administration date.
  • Authorizes a student to retake an end-of-course examination at any time during the student’s academic career.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules to implement the bill’s provisions regarding the retaking and excused delay in taking of the end-of-course examinations.

The bill passed the Ohio House on February 11 by a vote of 96-0, and just last week unanimously passed out of the Senate Education committee with only minor changes.  This is good for most kids and their schools, but it’s only for the current school year and completely ignores the youngest test-takers in Ohio’s schools – the third grade children.

While HB7 reaffirms the decision to administer the OAA instead of the new PARCC exams this year for these children, the bill explicitly states that the prohibitions on promotion or retention do not apply to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

As clearly explained in the analysis by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission:

The bill explicitly states that the provisions described above do not apply to the third-grade English language arts assessment that is used for purposes of the third-grade reading guarantee.

Huh, I guess the right to “opt-out” only applies to parents of kids above age 8 or 9.