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State Proficiency Test 1

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - State Proficiency Tests / Temporary Grading I

State Proficiency Tests / Temporary Grading I

How important are the state proficiency tests to your child’s future? Several years ago the Ohio General Assembly decided to define accountability for our public and private schools. They decided to mandate a proficiency test for all students. If you pass it you can graduate. If you don’t you must stay in school.

Then for some unexplained reason the lawmakers decided to set the test at the ninth grade level. So to graduate from high school you have to pass the ninth grade test. Most schools start giving them in the eighth grade so that students will have at least five years to pass every section of the test. There is an essay portion to the test. That’s right – its not all multiple choice. So every year several hundred thousand Ohio students take the ninth grade test. Problem is – somebody has to read through all those essay questions.

Imagine a pile of 275,000 essay questions staring you in the face. Where would you begin to conquer such a mountain of reading and grading? How many people would it take to properly grade such a vast array of written responses? To solve this problem the Ohio Department of Education has gotten outside help. In a little shopping center near Greensboro, North Carolina a company called Measurement Inc. hires temporary workers for $8.50 an hour to grade your kids proficiency tests.

The temporary graders are expected to read an average of 30-35 essays per hour. They get a bonus dollar if they increase their speed. You heard it right – your child’s state proficiency test – the one the teachers sent all those letters home about – the one he or she studied so hard for – the one that determines graduation – is being processed by temporary workers in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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