Restore K - 8 Assessments for Social Studies in Ohio
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K-8 Assessments for the Social Studies Position Statement
Statement - Social Studies instruction is currently not valued in Ohio Schools. State Assessments for Elementary and Middle School students have been suspended for 4 years, and, as a result, instructional time and resources have been shifted to tested subjects. Students must have a solid background in the social studies (history, geography, government, and economics), so they are prepared for the rigors of coursework at the middle and high school levels, and, more importantly, to take their place as effective and engaged citizen.
Background - During the Summer of 2009, Amended Substitute House Bill 1 suspended the Social Studies OAA’s at Grades 5 and 8. Budgetary concerns were cited as the reason for the tests’ suspension. The law calls for 5th and 8th grade social studies assessments to be created and administered by the 2014-2015 school year as measures of Ohio New Learning Standards for the Social Studies. However, in September, 2012, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has asked the General Assembly to change testing for the social studies to grades 4 and 6.
OCSS’s Concerns - Even if the change of grade-levels is made by the General Assembly, OCSS remains concerned that elementary and middle school testing will be once again suspended / eliminated for budgetary reasons. The result would lead to further marginalization and disinvestment in the social studies, leaving students less prepared for secondary coursework and ill prepared in participating as engaged citizens in a democracy.
OCSS Recommends - The Ohio Council for the Social Studies recommends that that Ohio General Assembly fund elementary and middle school assessments for the social studies as is required by Amended Substitute House Bill 1 (2009). We also support the change of testing years requested by the Ohio Department of Education to Grades 4 and 6. This would ensure that students have a solid background in the social studies (history, geography, government, and economics), and are more prepared for coursework at the middle and high school levels.
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