Ohio schools examine impact of spring testing pandemic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Public schools in Ohio have received the results of the spring assessments, giving administrators data on the impact of the pandemic on student performance.

What would you like to know

  • The results of the spring assessment were made available to administrators last week.
  • The Ohio Department of Education said it hopes to have a scan in September
  • Director says results were better than he expected

School officials had previously not had access to the figures on how learning disruptions related to COVID-19 were affecting students, in part because the 2020 tests were canceled during the initial COVID lockdown. 19.

The test results were made available to administrators privately through the state’s online reporting system.

Officials said the 2021 results would be compared to data from pre-pandemic testing to identify how students were affected as they transitioned into and out of various learning models during the pandemic.

Vladimir Kogan, associate professor of political science at Ohio State University, is part of a research group that will analyze the results of the assessment in collaboration with the state.

Vladimir Kogan (Ohio State University)

Kogan explained that in January, a first limited analysis of the impact of the pandemic on education in Ohio was released, examining the results of the fall third grade English language arts assessment exams. 2020 – the only test that is carried out in the fall, not in the spring.

“That was really where it was until the end of October, really just for the third year for one subject, so the spring assessments will tell us about a much wider range of grades and also for things like math and for high school courses as well, “he said.

It is too early to share any analysis of the spring assessments, as the results have only just been released to schools, he said.

As Ohio State researchers examine the results, they hope to glean answers to critical questions about education in Ohio, 16 months after the pandemic began: which grade levels have the most difficulties? Which subjects were more impacted than others? And what is the demographics of the students who have fallen behind?

The Ohio Department of Education said in a statement to Spectrum News that it is conducting its own data analysis in addition to working with the state of Ohio.


Students stay at a distance and in separate lanes when moving between classes. (AP Photo, Jessica Hill, File)

“The spring assessments provided a large amount of data and the ministry is working to process and analyze it all,” said spokeswoman Mandy Minick. “We expect this work to be completed and we will be able to provide an overview of our findings in early September. “

Ohio schools can now display the percentage of students who passed each test on a scale of 1 to 5.

The subjects tested vary according to the grade level. They include English language arts, math, science and, for high school students, social studies. Minick confirmed that the results of all of these tests were released to schools.

Bill Wingler, principal of Strongsville High School, said he had received the school’s results and started reviewing them.

The Strongsville High test results are “mixed,” but overall the scores were better than he might have thought given the circumstances, he said.

“We haven’t had test results for two years,” he said. “It’s going to be a huge amount of data.”

He attributes his students’ strong performance to the fact that most of them learned in person for most of the last school year. In Cuyahoga County, Strongsville was in person last year more than any other district, and only about 100 to 150 of 1,900 students took the virtual option, he said.

“Being live is an advantage. There’s no question about that, and I think that while we want to use technology to supplement education, there is still a lot to be said about coming in and learning the old-fashioned way, so that a teacher can provide direct feedback to a child, ”Winler said.

Students who stayed in virtual learning struggled more, which he attributed to the challenges of teaching subjects like chemistry or human geography through a computer.


High school students are seated in a classroom separated by plastic dividers after returning to in-person learning. (AP Photo, Charlie Riedel, Dossier)

The impact of the pandemic on student performance is a combination of the total closure of school buildings in the fall as well as the continued disruption of the past year, which varied from school to school as school districts from Ohio had the freedom to go with the learning model of their choice, Kogan said.

The Ohio state report on third-grade test scores found that students were about a third of a year behind on average statewide. The impacts were most severe among black students, who were on average six months late, Kogan said.

Based on the fall results, it is likely that the spring data will also show that districts that have remained in virtual or hybrid models for more than the year than districts like Strongsville will suffer the biggest educational setbacks. .

“We found that the districts that were completely far apart in the fall had students who were later than the students who were completely in person, and the districts that were doing hybrids were somewhere in between,” he said. -he declares.

With the third-year assessments, test scores fell further in areas of the state where there was more unemployment and economic hardship, Kogan said. Whether this trend continues in the new data will be of interest as researchers analyze the spring results.

For the first time, the results will also show whether younger or older students have been more affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is some reason to believe that the impacts will be greater in younger classes where it is more difficult for students to work remotely than perhaps in older classes,” Kogan said. “On the other hand, in the older classes you will have more students who have been left alone at home and therefore have potentially had more opportunities not to stay on track.”

With some families in Strongsville hungry for more distance learning options after the pandemic, Wingler said he would look at the test numbers to determine whether e-learning was effective in the district.

He predicts that this series of test results will guide state decisions on how much online learning schools should offer in the future.

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