Guest Column: Parents have had enough of testing regimen

Lindsey and Mark Meili

Governor Kasich:

The parents of Ohio have had enough. We have had enough because we are sick and tired of our children being over-tested, of teachers spending hours and days teaching our children to a test that they will not see the results of in a timely manner, and of our children taking tests years ahead of their ability levels. We are taking a stand against testing. We are standing up for our children. Those of us who do not currently have children in grades 3-12 are standing up for our children for future years. We want our children to have quality education, and the current testing environment impedes that.

First, The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) practice tests are above grade level. Several educators have commented on this; Rider University’s Reading Education Coordinator Russ Walch states, “the PARCC sample tests show that they have certainly raised the bar when it comes to making reading comprehension passages quite difficult at every grade level. The other results show that the passages chosen are about two grade levels above the readability of the grade and age of the children by measures other than the Lexile level.” Testing students at developmentally inappropriate levels only results in frustration, which hinders even strong students from demonstrating what they actually know.

Second, the number of hours that students spend taking these tests has significantly increased. To quote Federal Hocking Superintendent George Wood’s op-ed piece from The Athens Messenger,” beginning this year, the tests Ohio has chosen to meet federal standards, called PARCC, are no longer a one-day, one-test program. Rather, each test has multiple parts given on different days. So now from third to eighth grade, students will have not 16 but 45 days of testing. That’s 29 additional days of disruption and pressure. At the high school level, the same increase in testing will occur. Currently high school students take the Ohio Graduation Test, five tests given over five days. The new state requirements will require students to take tests in seven subjects and each of those is a two-part test over two days. Again, an increase in testing, this time from five to 14 tests. In other words, with no new mandates from the federal government, the State of Ohio is going from 21 standardized tests in grades 3-12 to 59 standardized tests, an increase of over 280 percent.” This runaway increase in time spent testing comes at the direct expense of our children actively learning new material.

Third, in order for students to pass these tests, many educators feel pressured to strictly teach to a test for extended periods of time, rather than being given the freedom and trust to educate as they have been trained quite extensively to do. This robs the classroom of creativity and student engagement at all levels. Furthermore, these tests are not a true measure of one’s intelligence; your child could be gifted in art, music or spatial/nature/bodily-kinesthetic intelligence and easily fail these tests.

Test-taking students are not the only ones affected. Entire schools are put on hold to make the testing environment ideal, with students missing library time, and physical activity time provided by P.E. and recess. At the high school level, virtually all classes are disrupted over the two-week February period, as teachers are pulled out of the classroom and put to work administering the tests.

Lastly, for an assessment to be effective, it should provide timely feedback. These tests do not. We urge you to go back to the drawing board on these assessments. Engage real and effective educators to create developmentally appropriate and timely assessments while thinking outside the box of pen and paper (or computer) assessments.

The madness must stop. Governor: We ask that you make it stop.


Lindsey and Mark Meili,


This letter was also signed by dozens of other parents in the Southeastern Ohio area — via the Athens Messenger.