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National tests best to pinpoint needs

Ohio students will face a whole new round of tests soon, but this time, they will be judged with a nationwide scorecard.

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Ohio students will face a whole new round of tests soon, but this time, they will be judged with a nationwide scorecard.

The state dropped out of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a national test that has tested students in major subject areas since 1969, because too few school districts decided to participate.

Now, Ohio’s new superintendent wants a majority of the state’s school districts to rejoin the testing – and is prepared to order them to do so if they refuse.

And why would they refuse?

There really is only one reason to avoid a test that could provide more information about the progress children in Ohio are making in the core subjects – fear of accountability.

If Americans in general and Ohioans in specific are going to get serious about making education better, the more information we need about where are students are and where they should be.

Artificially inflated test scores or avoiding examinations that might point to deficiencies serves only to perpetuate the problems that we already know we have in educating our children.

Once we have the testing information, then it will be time to look at parental involvement, discipline and class sizes as well as the many other factors that affect the quality of the education our children receive.

Lawrence County schools should take the first step by being part of the first wave of districts to sign up for the national testing. In return, parents and community leaders should be ready to address the other issues facing education today.

Finger-pointing and political posturing are not going to improve the education we provide our children. Communication, working together and looking at all the factors – even the ones we don’t like – is the only way to turn our D in education to an A.

And Lawrence County should be the first to jump on that bandwagon.