Gifted Assessment Testimony– On Tuesday, June 11, several gifted advocates provided testimony to the State Board of Education regarding the impact of the new gifted assessment list. Dr. Patricia Farrenkopf, Debra Smith, and Beth Wilson-Fish testified in person while Dr. Colleen Boyle provided written testimony. There were few questions from the board though ODE’s Director of Assessment, Dr. Chris Woolard, spoke to the board of the known deficiencies of the list including the lack of instruments to assess visual and performing arts as well as creativity. Hannah News covered the testimony as follow:
“Pat Farrenkohf, Debra Smith and Beth Wilson-Fish provided testimony criticizing the department’s revised Chart of Approved Assessments for gifted status identification, saying it excludes many field-recognized assessments currently in use at schools. It is better suited for certain students, including gifted students with disabilities who are often identified as “twice exceptional.” They said that many schools have already budgeted for the purchase and use of certain assessments that are not included on the list of approved assessments. Particularly, they said, some of the tools are specifically better for individual administration rather than group administration.
DeMaria explained that the list was updated as a result of workgroup meetings meant to identify assessments that could be used for multiple purposes. The department initiated another request for proposal process from providers but received very few bids. He said there were some timing and submission issues that kept some assessments off the list. Woolard said staff members are working with a supplemental application window to try to address some of the gaps identified by those testifying.”
OAGC continues to be troubled by the limited number of assessments that are on the new list. Additionally, OAGC is concerned that the evaluation process itself had extremely tight timelines for publishers to submit information and no gifted assessment expert was utilized by ODE to evaluate the assessments. All of these factors contributed to a list that fails to provide adequate tools for appropriate identification across areas of identification and underrepresented populations, particularly twice-exceptional students, ELL, and economically-disadvantages students. A full list of OAGC’s concerns can be accessed at: http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Concerns%20Regarding%20New%20ODE%20GIfted%20Assessment%20List%205.16.19%20.pdf. If the lack of assessments is a problem for your district, please continue to write to your state board of education member. You can determine who they are by going to http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members. It is also useful to copy in the state board president, Laura Kohler.
Gifted Self-Report– ODE released the gifted self-report this week. Information about the report can be found at https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/Gifted-Education/Reporting/School-District-Self-Report-on-Identification-and. The report will be due on August 30, 2019. If this deadline is too difficult for your district to meet, please contact the gifted staff at ODE at [email protected].
State Budget Update– The Ohio Senate released a substitute bill this week. Sub HB166 eliminated many education provisions that were included in the House. The Senate also shifted funds added for wrap-around services to increased funds for growing districts that are capped as well as increased support of vouchers. With regard to the budget issues that concern gifted advocates, four provisions were amended or eliminated by the Ohio Senate.
- First (and second), two studies in the Ohio House were removed. The first would have looked at gifted funding transparency and the second would have looked how to implement incentives for gifted rural services. The removal of these studies should not be seen necessarily as a lack of Senate support for gifted. The studies were to have been conducted by the Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC) which the Ohio Senate removed in their version of the substitute bill. The Ohio Senate has attempted to eliminate this committee in the past. Nevertheless, the elimination of JEOC also eliminates the two gifted studies.
- The Senate removed language that would have allowed accredited non-public schools to opt out of the College Credit Plus program. OAGC supports this removal. OAGC believes that all students regardless of their school setting should be allowed to access College Credit Plus. Allowing some non-public schools to opt-out will negatively impact students in these schools whose public-school options do not meet the majority of their needs. Regardless of setting, parents should be able to ultimately decide what is best for their children.
- Finally, while the Ohio Senate removed many House provisions that affected the report card, the provision that would change the composite grade to reflect the better of the performance index or the value-added grade – leaving the other report card components out of the calculation. This move would devalue all the other report card components, which are still critically important to students, parents, and the public at large. If the goal is to de-emphasize the composite grade, then perhaps it is better to just eliminate it altogether. But this change, which has not been vetted, would infuse the performance index and the value-added measure with oversized importance relative to the other report card measures. It is likely that this issue is still under discussion and we may see a change as the Senate Finance committee accepts amendments to the current version of the bill next week or the week afterward. Other amendments might include changes to the Academic Distress Commission as well as graduation requirements, which have been hot-button issues.