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Ohio government leaders have pulled out of the same multistate student-testing consortium that Arkansas left last month after giving the tests in just one year.

John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, on Tuesday signed a legislative budget bill that prohibits that state from spending any money on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career exams, better known as PARCC tests, and directs the Ohio Department of Education to find an alternative test.

The Columbus Dispatch, a newspaper in Ohio's capital city, reported Wednesday that Ohio leaders acted after hearing complaints from the public that the PARCC testing time -- amounting to as many as 13 hours -- was excessive and the results took too long to be returned.

Arkansas and Ohio are the latest states to withdraw from the consortium that was once made up of nearly two dozen states that formed to develop student tests based on the Common Core State Standards. A majority of the 50 states, including Arkansas, adopted the 2010 standards in math and English/language arts and then had to find or develop tests based on those standards to comply with federal law.

The consortium -- without Arkansas and Ohio -- now consists of seven states and the District of Columbia.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 requires states to test students in grades three through high school in math and literacy.

Failure to administer tests would put millions of federal education dollars to a state in jeopardy.

The states must use the results of their annual tests to evaluate school performance as well as individual students.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, heeding the sentiment of some in the Legislature and acting on the advice of the Governor's Council on Common Core Review, directed his state's education leaders on June 8 to end the state's relationship with the PARCC consortium and enter into a contract with ACT Inc.

He wanted students to take the ACT college-entrance exam and the related ACT Aspire tests in the coming 2015-16 school year.

The state Board of Education, all appointed by Hutchinson's predecessor, Gov. Mike Beebe, bucked the governor, voting June 11 against using the ACT Inc. products and to stay with the PARCC tests.

But Hutchinson cited a provision in the state's 2010 memorandum of understanding with PARCC that requires a new governor to affirm in writing the state's continued commitment to participate in the consortium -- which Hutchinson did not do. The governor again directed that the relationship between Arkansas and PARCC be severed and that the state Education Board exercise its statutory responsibility to select a new test provider.

That test-selection matter is on the agenda for the Education Board's July 9 meeting.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, the chairman of the Governor's Council on Common Core Review, said Wednesday that this week's decision in Ohio validates what Arkansas did.

"This is a state that is very different than Arkansas but has drawn the same exact conclusions," Griffin said.

"The governor and legislators in Ohio have reportedly been hearing objections to the PARCC test similar to what we have heard from parents and teachers in Arkansas," he said. "It's not surprising that Ohio has decided to end its relationship with PARCC and seek a better alternative."

The state of Arkansas paid about $8.5 million for this past year's PARCC exams that were given in two parts -- in March and May. The state is not expected to receive the results of those tests until October or November, as the result of going through the process of setting different achievement levels -- such as basic, proficient and advanced on new tests.

Metro on 07/02/2015

Print Headline: Ohio follows Arkansas, exits testing consortium


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