PEPPER PIKE, OH - March 9, 2015 – The Orange City School District announced at its March 9, 2015 Board of Education meeting that it has applied for a five-year waiver on state mandated testing. This request is for the years 2015–2020 and is possible due to the District’s affiliation with the Ohio Innovation Lab Network (ILN). Orange is one of only a handful of school districts in Ohio eligible to apply for this waiver, which now has to be approved by both the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the U.S. Department of Education by the end of the month.
By requesting this waiver, the Orange City School District aims to significantly reduce the amount of state-required testing. If approved, the District will replace state assessments with authentic learning and performance based assessments. The intention of these waivers is to provide flexibility to ILN districts and STEM schools to use alternative assessments that may be more compatible with the educational programs of the applicants, while still maintaining a consistent level of rigor and accountability. The proposed assessment system would reduce the number of state reported tests in 2015-2016 from 27 to 4 (third, fourth and seventh grade tests, and ACT/SAT). For 2016-2020, the District would use performance-based assessments/rubrics centered on content and 21st Century Skills.
According to Orange Schools Superintendent Dr. Edwin Holland, “We pride ourselves on the quality of education we provide our students. The Orange Schools are committed to continue delivering authentically engaged learning experiences while maintaining accountability and assessment proficiency. This waiver would allow us to continue moving towards our goal of improving teaching and learning, while at the same time reducing the testing burden on our students.”
ILN’s purpose is to engage schools, districts and the ODE to work together to identify, test and implement new designs for public education that will empower each student to thrive as a productive learner, worker and citizen in a rapidly changing global economy. Orange has aligned with the six ILN principles and critical attributes: world class knowledge and skills; comprehensive systems of support, personalized learning; performance-based learning; anytime, anywhere learning; and student ownership of learning.
“We believe the school district and community will find that students will be better served by the waiver,” said Mrs. Karen Moore, Orange Schools Director of 21st Century Curriculum. “The goal is to get to the point where standards are clearly established, but the methods of achieving those standards are determined locally. The instructional model in our schools is student centered and learning focused; therefore, our form of assessment must be flexible yet adhere to tight and rigorous principles, methods and practices that reflect understanding of the learning objectives across the curricular program with respect to 21st Century world class knowledge and skills.”
Orange was one of the founding districts in Ohio’s Partnership of Next Generation Learning (NxGL) initiative in 2009, which has developed into ILN. Orange continues to challenge the status quo and is committed to providing a world-class education for our students.