PARCC: Opt-Outs and State Report Cards


By State Rep. Jim Buchy - Contributing columnist



A year ago when the Ohio Department of Education decided to proceed with the new PARCC test, despite its questionable results, they raised eyebrows. As part of the Common Core roll-out, PARCC faced considerable concern from parents, teachers and the like. All signs pointed to potential PARCC failure, but the Ohio Department of Education elected to proceed and have since spent considerable time responding to the consequences of that decision.

The latest issue has arisen because the State Report Cards failed to acknowledge the failure of the PARCC test to accurately measure local student growth. As a result changes have been made but the best recommendation this year is to ignore the state report card and look for better, more accurate results next year.

The legislature recognized the looming concerns of the PARCC test and acted swiftly to provide safe harbor to teachers, schools and students so that they would not be harmed by the results of the untested, unproven, and eventually failed PARCC test. It only makes sense that when discrepancies appeared in the state report card students, teachers and schools would be held harmless from those results and spared public embarrassment associated with scores that do not accurately reflect student performance.

Many parents had their children take the test, yet an unprecedented number of parents had their children “opt-out.” Although I would have preferred the students take the test, it is the responsibility of state leaders to recognize the impact of these opt-outs and respond. We do not anticipate this large scale problem in the future because state legislators voted to stop the PARCC test.

When the school report cards for last year were released, the high number of opt-outs had a considerable impact. Because of the way the scores are calculated, all opt-outs appeared as zeroes, while they should not have been factored into the scores at all. We have some of the best schools in the state, but the impact of opt-outs caused our schools to appear in the bottom tier when compared to other schools.

Thanks to the efforts of local administrators, the Department of Education recognized the damaging impacts of these false report cards and decided to release new ratings that no longer consider opt-outs. While these new scores provide a better snapshot of the actual results, they still do not effectively show how our students progressed over the school year.

My recommendation to parents, students, teachers, and administrators is simple; if you want to review the local state report card, make sure you are looking at the adjusted score. You can view the adjusted scores at a website I have created tinyurl.com/adjustedreportcards However, it must be noted that these local report card scores are still not entirely accurate because of the failed PARCC exams. The best thing we can do this year is ignore the state report card because it is not accurate.

In western Ohio we have the best schools in the state. What we have been doing has been proven effective, so we should keep moving forward with what works. Our students, teachers, and administrators are top notch and set the standard for the rest of the state to strive for.

Please give me your opinion on this topic and others in the news this month by completing an online survey at tinyurl.com/buchymarch2016

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By State Rep. Jim Buchy

Contributing columnist

The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.

The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.