State Testing Update from the Superintendent

Dear Beachwood Families:

During the next few weeks, students in grades 3 through 12 will begin taking new state-mandated assessments - called PARCC and AIR.

For students in grades 3-8, the new assessments replace all Ohio Achievement Assessments except for grade 3.

For students in grades 9-12, the new assessments will replace the Ohio Graduation Tests. The class of 2017 will be the last to take the OGT. High school students enrolled in the following courses will take corresponding new assessments this year: Freshmen English, Physical Science, Algebra 1, Geometry, US Studies (except AP), and Government (except AP).

All of the new assessments are administered in two parts:
  • Performance-Based Assessments (February and March)
  • End-of-Year Assessments (April and May)
While some recent news stories and blogs have expressed concern about these new assessments, the testing periods are of a much shorter duration than those under the previous format. Also, Beachwood Schools has done much more than most districts to prepare our students for the new assessments. We are grateful for the professionalism of our administration, teachers and staff in preparing for these new tests, and also fortunate to have the personnel and technology resources to implement the new tests more easily than most school districts.

While no testing mechanism is perfect, district report cards based on these test results are an important and accepted measure of a district's performance. They reflect a set of shared expectations of what students should be able to know or do, ensuring that communities are held accountable for educating their children. Our students have shown tremendous success in recent years, resulting in Beachwood Schools climbing into the top 10 performing districts in Ohio.

In a relatively small school district like ours, every student's scores have a significant impact on our district's composite results. In some communities, citizens groups opposed to state testing have urged parents to prohibit their children from participating. There is no provision that permits a parent or student to opt out of state testing. Those districts could incur a significant drop in their district rankings if students do so. We need all of our students to participate so that the state receives an accurate picture of our students' and our district's academic performance.

Each school has released its testing schedule. Please be sure your student is in school on test days and on time, receives a good night sleep and eats a healthy breakfast prior to each test.

I thank you in advance for your continued support of administrators' and teachers' collective efforts to balance high achievement with the effective learning environments that our students deserve.


Richard A. Markwardt, Ph.D., Superintendent

Beachwood City School District
(216) 464-2600
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