Online state testing that begins next year will be piloted by Perrysburg Schools in March and April for students and administration to get their feet wet.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers are the new state tests taken online with videos and interactive features -- a significant change from traditional multiple-choice, standardized tests. Kadee Anstadt, Perrysburg's executive director of teaching and learning, gave a presentation to the board of education Tuesday night about the new assessments for grades 3 to 11.
Perrysburg has been preparing for the testing since 2010 by providing keyboarding classes to third and fourth graders.
Board member Cal Smith asked Ms. Anstadt during the presentation if the PARCC testing is why the schools spent money to buy students laptop computers.
"We are preparing kids for college," she said in response, explaining that she wouldn't take up students' time to pilot it if it wasn't important.
The trial run will help the district prepare for the assessments that begin next school year. Ms. Andstadt said trying it in advance will test the wireless network with 300 students at the high school on it at once, and possibly watching a video to answer a question at the same time. It will also help the district figure out how to schedule the testing within the school day.
When the PARCC test begins next school year it will be vital for teachers' evaluations, the district's state report cards, district funding, and colleges' perceptions of Perrysburg students, Ms. Anstadt said.
The school board also took a first look at changing its high-school graduation requirements to exempt students who participate in interscholastic athletics, marching band, or cheerleading from the physical-education requirement. At least two full seasons' participation in those activities would be required before students could opt out from gym class, and it would still be an option for them.
"The waiver is not taking away from students, if they still want to [take physical education], they can," Mr. Smith said. "It gives the students more options and freedoms, I'm happy about this."
The waiver would not apply to such club sports and activities as lacrosse and dance.
The school board also scheduled its board retreat for March 1, at a time and place still to be determined.