By Julie Carr Smyth
AP Statehouse Correspondent
COLUMBUS: Schools will get an extra week to administer required state achievement tests to third- through eighth-graders due to the effects of severe winter weather that has delayed and canceled classes, Ohio’s state superintendent said Tuesday.
Many districts are scrambling to keep pace with classroom topics that students face on the Ohio Achievement Tests starting in April.
Superintendent Richard Ross told members of the state school board that the testing window will be expanded from three weeks to four weeks, running from April 21 to May 16.
The timetable for administering the Ohio Graduation Test has not changed.
Many Ohio schools have exhausted their five allowable days off for bad weather. State lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would allow four additional days away from class this year.
The legislation’s sponsor has expressed willingness to add a provision to the bill — which faces a House floor vote on Wednesday — to tweak the June 15 deadline by which achievement test results are due, but with Ross on board with the extension that appears just a technicality.
Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton said the department could waive the deadline if need be.
“School leaders have had to make some tough decisions, but they’ve kept the needs of the students their top priority,” he said. “This will give teachers some extra time before they take those assessments to prepare for these tests.”
Students in some districts have missed 10 or more days because of weather including heavy snow storms and arctic temperatures.
Besides legislation adding calamity days, state lawmakers are also pursuing a bill that would excuse high school seniors from certain school days their district must make up because of weather-related closures. It proposes allowing seniors to skip make-up days that occur after their graduation ceremonies and would only apply to the current school year.
The measure will be heard by an Ohio Senate committee on Wednesday.