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New Standardized Tests Should Be Ready By October

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User: Benjamin Chun
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A group of Ohio teachers is reviewing the questions that will appear in this year’s American Institutes for Research, or AIR, standardized test. It replaces the controversial PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, exam. Both tests are tied to the Common Core standards.

State officials decided to make the switch last month, but are still finalizing the exams. A sample should be released by October. Test organizers are pulling questions from a national database for this year’s exam. Officials expect a more Ohio-specific exam for next year.

State Sen. Peggy Lehner says the transition has been smooth so far because the Ohio Department of Education already had a contingency plan to name AIR as the new test vendor, if needed.

“And that was largely put in place because we weren’t entirely sure that PARCC was going to be ready in this past school year," she said.

Lehner says she hopes to avoid the “chaos” of last year’s test rollout. Parents around the state were pulling their students out of testing saying the exams took too long and were too difficult. Teachers and school administrators were also unhappy with PARCC.  

AIR already provides Ohio with its social studies and science standardized exams. This new agreement adds math and English to the list. The state spent $25.4 million last year for PARCC. An education department spokesperson says the AIR exam will cost about the same.