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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ohio School Achievement Tests: Practice ???'s Are Here

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Parents who want to get a heads up on Ohio's mandatory school achievement tests might sneak a peek at this state education department Website, where online versions for advance practice are available. The Ohio Department of Education now has the questions and answers publicly posted in a spot that probably is meant for classroom teachers.

Before downloading material to coach little Johnny and Judy, take a glance at the following multiple-choice 8th grade social studies test queries. They seem pretty topical.

Q. Which belief do Jews and Muslims share?

A. Mecca is a holy city.
B. There is only one God.
C. Jesus is the son of God.
D. There are many paths to truth.

Q. In the past, the United States manufactured most of the products used by Americans. Now, many of these products are imported from other countries. What is one reason for this change?

A. The United States government encourages Americans to buy foreign goods.
B. Foreign workers manufacture products that Americans can no longer make.
C. The United States economy has grown smaller in recent decades.
D. Foreign producers can make goods for less money than American producers.

Q. According to Article 1 of the United States Constitution, after Congress passes a bill, how does that bill usually become a law?

A. The states ratify it.
B. The courts uphold it.
C. The president signs it.
D. The cabinet approves it.

The Education Department is also having to quell a rumor that Ohio's high school National Honor Society members can serve as test administrators this year. Not so. The people administering this test have to be licensed teachers employed by the school.

"The statement regarding the National Honor Society student was given at a workshop conducted by a private consultant. Please use caution when considering information about Ohio testing procedures from staff other than the ODE Office of Assessment. Please be very careful when a statement is made by a non-ODE, non-Office of Assessment person,'' the Education Department warning says. "Question all statements and verify through the Office of Assessment the statements made by private consultants."

Now, about Mecca. Is there a problem with that test question? The city on the Red Sea is the birthplace of Muhammad. It certainly could be argued that large numbers of Jews, as well as Christians, would consider Mecca a "holy" city because of its sacred significance to Islam. In other words, the city is deeply associated with religion. But that is too smart for the test -- and you'd be marked wrong. The state says the correct answer is: "There is only one God."

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