Educators get lesson about state proficiency test

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 14, 2003

Test. The word often strikes fear in the hearts of children and adults alike.

Friday, a small group of Ohio Department of Education personnel hoped to curb that fear and make the word "test" just another four-letter word - in the most literal sense.

The group spent the day meeting with public education administrators and teachers from southeast Ohio at the Ohio University Southern campus.

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The first half of the day was spent discussing options for upcoming statewide legislation, House Bill 95, which changes the Ohio Regional Education Delivery System. Tests were the subject of the second half of the day, including a special "Take the Test" presentation.

"There is so much confusion around testing," said Bob Bowers, associate superintendent of curriculum and assessment. "We wanted to demystify the test."

"The test" is actually several standardized tests, and Friday's meeting was the final in 12 meetings held across the state to help ODE officials gauge how the new "Take the Test" program will work.

"Take the Test" includes a booklet with sample test questions from Ohio's Grade 3 Reading Achievement Practice Test and the Ohio Graduation Test.

By utilizing administrators and teachers first, ODE hopes to fine-tune the program before releasing it later this month.

"We're learning that we appear to be fairly much on target in testing at the appropriate grade level," Bowers said. "We have also learned that people have a lot of misconceptions about the assessments."

ODE personnel created the program to help parents and other residents better understand how the standardized tests are created and how they are used.

"The purpose is to raise awareness of the tests," said Patti Grey, ODE director of communication. "The intent is to go out and use this with parents. We're trying to overcome the fears parents have."

Grey said parents should ask three questions in relation to the tests:

4What does my child need to know?

4How am I going to know they are learning this?

4What do I do if they aren't learning this?

Grey said the purpose of the program is simple.

"We want parents to know what's on the test," she said.

For more information on Ohio's standardized testing go to or