Guidance for Schools
Student Participation in Testing
Federal and state laws require all districts and schools to test all students
in specific grades and courses. There is no law that allows a parent or student
to opt out of state testing, and there is no state test opt-out procedure or
form. If a parent withdraws a child from participation in certain state tests,
there may be consequences for the student, the student’s teacher, and the
school and district.
To help parents make informed decisions, schools should provide in writing the
possible consequences of opting out, which are included in this guidance, as
well information about other district consequences. Schools are not required to
— but may want to — request that a parent place in writing a decision to
withdraw his or her student, so there is a record of why the student was not
WHY ARE STATE TESTS IMPORTANT?
State tests are critical for measuring student learning and ensuring that every
Ohio student receives a high-quality education. The results from state tests
are how we hold districts, schools and teachers accountable.
The Ohio General Assembly has enacted a safe harbor provision for districts,
teachers and students as Ohio transitions to its new assessment system. Under
safe harbor, districts are exempt from some consequences based on their
students’ test scores for the 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.
Districts cannot use student scores as a factor in a decision to promote or
retain a student, except under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Districts
also cannot use student scores as a factor in a decision to deny a student
course credit. However, state law
does allow a local school board of education to create local policy that denies
promotion if students do not participate in required state tests.
Safe harbor only applies to educators who use value-added ratings from state
tests. Safe harbor does not apply to teachers or principals exclusively using
vendor tests or other local student growth measures. Please note, teachers and
principals will use value-added results from state tests administered in the
2016-17 school year for spring 2018 evaluation ratings.
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES FOR STUDENTS WHEN THEY DO NOT TAKE STATE TESTS
Schools must administer state tests and students are expected to take them. If
a student does not participate in state testing, there may be consequences for
the student, the student’s teacher, and the school and district.
Grade Reading Guarantee.
A student who does not take the
state’s grade 3 English language arts test will not have a score on that test
and may not be promoted to the fourth grade as part of the Third Grade Reading
Guarantee, unless an exemption applies. For more information on exemptions,
visit the Department’s website.
- High School
A student who entered ninth grade
for the first time before July 1, 2014, must meet curriculum requirements and
take and pass the Ohio Graduation Tests or meet one of the three graduation
options for the Class of 2018 and beyond to earn a high school diploma.
A student who entered ninth grade
for the first time on or after July 1, 2014, must meet curriculum requirements
and take and reach the needed score on the tests for at least one graduation
option to earn a high school diploma. More information on the graduation
requirements are on the Department’s website.
These options include:
performance earned on the state end-of-course tests or their approved substitutes;
remediation-free score on the ACT or SAT college admissions test; or
workforce ready score on the WorkKeys test, in combination with an approved industry-recognized
A student who does not take the Ohio
English Language Proficiency Assessment cannot exit the English as a Second
- Students at
A student who does not participate
in state testing in the spring for any required assessment for two consecutive
years will be unenrolled in the school of attendance.
For the majority of students who
receive a state scholarship (EdChoice, Jon Peterson, or Cleveland Scholarship)
participation in state testing or an approved alternative test is required. A
student who does not participate in testing will not have their scholarship
renewed the following year. Please direct questions to [email protected]POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES FOR DISTRICTS, SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS
WHEN STUDENTS DO NOT TAKE STATE TESTS
Districts and schools receive no
credit when a student doesn’t participate in state testing. This can negatively
impact a district’s state A-F report card grades.
Families and businesses often
consult A-F grades in choosing where to live, locate a business and how to vote
on tax levies.
These grades also may impact school
choice programs, flexibility on how funding is spent and which schools receive
extra help from the state.
If student participation in a
district drops below 95 percent overall or for specific subgroups of students,
the district could face new restrictions on how it spends its money pursuant to
federal law. Additionally, the district or school will receive demotions on
their Gap Closing report card measure.
Students who do not participate in
the required state tests will earn no points towards the school’s performance
In the future, the Every Student
Succeeds Act (ESSA) will require schools and districts that do not meet the 95
percent participation requirement to develop a corrective action plan. They
must use stakeholder input to develop a plan that will improve their
Districts and schools cannot count
students who do not take all required state tests in their average daily
membership (ADM) for state funding, unless they obtain a waiver from the
Teachers may be evaluated based, in
part, on student test scores from the 2016-2017 school year. If a student does
not take a state test, that student’s growth will not be included in the teacher’s
4. Teachers will not have access to advanced diagnostic
information from state tests, such as student growth projections, to help
OHIO’S STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES ALSO
PARTICIPATE IN STATE TESTS
The individualized education program (IEP) team is responsible for determining
how a student with a disability will participate in the state assessments. The
student’s IEP team decides whether a student needs accessibility features,
including accommodations, on district and statewide tests. For students with
significant cognitive disabilities, the IEP team may determine that Ohio’s
Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities is
the appropriate test.
Please direct questions to http:[email protected]