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Ohio House Considers Capping Student Testing

State Lawmakers want to set a limit on the amount of time spent on mandatory testing in schools. Some believe the cap scratches the surface of a bigger problem. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.

The bill says students can spend no more than four hours on a state standardized test. That’s per student—per subject—per year.

The state’s teachers unions are in favor of the bill. Scott DiMauro—with the Ohio Education Association—says the current teaching culture calls for too much focus on testing.

DiMauro: “I don’t think there’s an issue where people have more concern than how much time is being spent away from instruction on not only testing but test preparations and test drills and things like that.”

However, DiMauro adds that capping the testing time only addresses part of the issue.

He says there’s an over-reliance on standardized tests, which he says has strayed away from the original intent of education leaders and lawmakers - to provide information on what students are doing well and where they need help.

DiMauro: “Instead we see a system—more and more—where test scores are used to label blame and shame students and teachers and schools and the public education system rather than to help students.”

Some legislators—like Republican Representative Ryan Smith of Gallipolis—recognize a need to reform testing but didn’t think this bill does enough.

Smith: “I would just like to see more deliberate—thorough debate about how we can adjust things and just not quite comfortable with where we’re at and that’s why I’ll be a no on the bill.”

Two other Republicans joined Smith in voting against the proposal and the rest voted in favor.

The measure must still pass the full House then the Senate before the end of the year.

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