Superintendent’s Committee on Assessments – The second meeting of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments was held April 4th. Committee members received an overview of state assessments from ODE Deputy Superintendent, Dr. John Richard. In addition, invited speakers addressed the committee about the kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading assessments, and social studies assessments. The latter group of speakers indicated that when social studies assessments were eliminated earlier in the decade that social studies teaching declined. After these presentations, the committee broke up into small groups to brain storm how state assessments could be streamlined. The next meeting takes place on April 18th from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the Ohio Department of Education. The focus will be on local assessments including those required by the state, which would include gifted assessments. Committee members were asked to prepare a list of assessments at each grade level used by their district and the amount of time each assessment took. The committee will hear from Neil Gupta from Worthington City Schools about how his district did an assessment audit. In addition, Colleen Boyle, OAGC President, will address the committee regarding gifted screening and assessment. Based on comments from a few of the committee members at this week’s meeting, it is clear there is confusion about what is required for gifted screening and assessment, and why it is important. To view the assessment committee presentation, timeline, and next meeting tasks, please go to www.oagc.com/advocacyupdates.asp and look under the “Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments 2017” tab. All documents from meetings will be posted under that tab.
Gifted Regional School Feasibility Study Released – Language in the last biennial budget required the Ohio Department of Education to conduct a feasibility study of regional gifted schools and submit that report to Ohio policy makers by July 1, 2016. The study, which was conducted in April of 2016, was finally released last week. While there are a few interesting items in the study, the final determination was that the feasibility of schools would require “detailed, region-specific market and cost analyses, especially in the rural, sparsely-populated regions. Those detailed analyses were beyond the scope of this study.” In other words, the report had no specific conclusions about the feasibility of regional gifted opportunities that gifted students from across the state could access. A few of the more interesting findings in the report included:
- Wide-spread concerns about the lack of state commitment to gifted education, funding, and training.
- The need for equitable access to gifted services and data showing that students in rural areas are much less likely to be identified than other parts of the state.
- High parental support for gifted schools – though not necessarily online schools.
- The concern from superintendents that regional schools would take high-performing students away from their districts.
The report can be accessed at www.oagc.com/statebudget.asp .
Ohio Senate Takes Up State Budget – Before the Ohio House has produced a sub bill for HB49, the biennial budget, the Ohio Senate Finance Committee and subcommittees have begun initial hearings. While the Ohio General Assembly will be on hold for a couple of weeks for spring break, look for things to heat up again the last week of April. As Ohio’s revenue shortfall continues, the budget outlook appears to be even more bleak than previously thought.