Eye on Education

Why Ohio Schools Will See Their Test Scores Plummet in 2014

Juan Pablo Garnham / Flickr

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?

Ohio Department of Education, Feb. 2012

Passing rates on new state tests could be significantly lower.

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.

Florida saw a similar backlash when it raised standards on its state writing test this year. Passing rates took a dive, our colleagues at StateImpact Florida report:

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.



  • continuous learner

    If the teachers do the proper assessments to know that the students are learning to think the new tests will be passable

    • Mike Czar

      Amen! Lazy Ohio teachers!

  • Ramblings1

    It’s not difficult to explain why a cliff is coming: Ohio intentionally set expectations (performance benchmarks) for student achievement very low. Now the Common Core makes it clear all those excellent school banners made everyone feel good, but short-changed our children and taxpayers.

  • Frustrated in the Classroom

    What the article failed to mention is that the test are also going to be taken on the computer, which is another learning curve for students. Schools have been preparing students for paper-pencil test and skills needed to take that type of assessment. Good teaching also requires preparing students with test taking skills. On-line testing is a whole different beast when word processing skills will be needed. Also, the state has failed to give the schools the tools they need to prepare the students for this type of test. Some schools do not have the technology in their schools to make it happen, or the money to do so. It’s going to be ugly.

    • dst6n01

      Not true. Students adapt quickly and well to computer adapted tests; it is the adults who struggle with the transition from pencil and paper to computer. This will be a non issue.

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