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Lawmakers make right move on student testing

In an unusual show of solidarity, Ohio lawmakers have done something important for the state’s students and teachers, who are still on shaky ground after more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will have extra time to take state-mandated tests; and juniors and seniors can substitute final course grades for results from end-of-course tests taken this school year to graduate.

“I support any flexibility we can give to schools as we continue to address the pandemic’s impact on the students and families they serve,” Ohio Sen. Teresa Fedor said.

It remains unsettling that the one test for which schools received an exemption, rather than flexibility in scheduling, was the normally required American history exam. Teachers will of course continue to do a thorough job of making sure our students understand ALL of our nation’s past. But it seems assessment on that particular matter must wait a year.

Meanwhile, state education officials also are preparing to ask for exemptions to some federal accountability measures. Assuming they receive those exemptions, they won’t have much time to get used to the idea. Barring another crisis, those measures will be back in place again next year.

But right now it is good to know teachers and administrators will have more freedom to take care of their students — both academically and in terms of mental wellbeing. The ability to strike that balance is essential as we work toward our new educational “normal.”

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