The Game of State Testing {Insights from a High School Teacher}


High school state testing. These are four words, that when strung together, makes Ohio teachers, students and administrators cringe. For months, I, a high school math teacher, have been holding out hope that the state would understand that this year would not be the year to test. We have already lost so much time with our students due to the pandemic. The last thing any of us want is for our precious time with students to be spent watching them fill in bubbles. What is this going to measure anyway?


But alas, here we are. Spring testing season 2021. Adults, it’s time to put on our game face for our kids!

Who are the game players? Is my child testing?

The answer to this largely depends on what courses your student has taken this year. Generally speaking, freshmen, sophomores and juniors will have at least one test to take. However, this is not black and white because it also depends on if your child has to do any retakes or has moved schools and therefore has taken courses in a different sequence.

What is the playbook? What are these tests?

For high school students, these are End Of Course (EOC) exams and are required by federal and state law. There are math, science, social studies, and English tests. Students take these exams in the spring of the year of which they took the course that is being tested. Scores on these tests go towards one of the pathway options for graduation. High school graduation requirements in Ohio have been a moving target for the last several years.

For example, the cohort of students currently in high school have different requirements depending on their grade level. Requirements have changed so often over the last several years that I hesitate to put anything in writing on this post. For now, my recommendation is to click on this link here from the Ohio Department of Education for more information on your child’s graduation pathway.

How can parents help their children even when they don’t know the game (the tested subject)?

Just like in sports, parents can have students practice. If this is what you desire as a parent or as a student, there are resources available here for practice tests. You do NOT have to sign in as a guest. Just click the GREEN sign-in button at the bottom. The student can select if they want a question to be scored to know if they are accurate. When doing so, the student will get feedback about the correct answer. This site can be helpful for students to review old material.

What can parents do leading up to “game day” (test day)?

Make sure your child gets a good night’s rest, a healthy breakfast, and has any supplies that they might need. If your school is taking these tests on paper, your child might need a #2 pencil. If your child is taking it online, check with the school about what device he will be using.

Be their cheerleader.

With all this being said, in my humble opinion, the most important thing you can do for your child is be supportive. These tests bring on all kinds of anxiety for them and I would expect this year to be no different. Ensure they have a positive attitude about the situation. Be their cheerleader. What is not good for your child is to be booing the test from the sidelines. They are the ones who have to endure these tests. We have to cheer them on despite any other opinions we have about these tests.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer them!