The worry is that in 2014 Ohio schools will fall off a cliff, performance-wise. State officials are predicting that passing rates on state reading and math tests will plummet.
The students in classrooms in fall 2014 are going to be more or less the same kids in schools in 2013. What’s changing is the content they’ll be expected to know and the ways they’ll be tested on it.
Ohio is one of 45 states that have fully adopted the Common Core. That’s a set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level.
The new curriculum comes with new reading and math tests.Those tests are likely to be more difficult than Ohio’s existing state tests. And they could require students to get a higher score to pass.
So how steep is Ohio’s cliff?
Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Education said the percent of students who pass the third grade reading test could fall from 80 to 35.
The third grade math passing rate could fall from 82 to 26.
And the tenth grade reading passing rate could fall from 88 to 32.
Those are just projections — the actual tests haven’t even been created yet — but they worry school officials. Lower passing rates are likely to be hard to explain to parents and local realtors, and make it harder to sell voters on new tax levies.
Among fourth graders, for instance, 81 percent earned a score of 4 or better last year. This year, just 27 percent scored 4 or better.
Florida’s Board of Education fixed that particular problem by lowering the score required in order to pass the test.