Parents Raise Questions About New CPS Test

Nov 25, 2019

Cincinnati Public School parents are expressing concerns about a new test the district is using.

Late last year, CPS announced it would be switching to the Iowa test to identify students for gifted programs. All second and sixth grade students take the test, which can be used to determine enrollment in special college preparatory programs (SCPP).

CPS says so far this year, 266 out of 2,557 sixth graders scored high enough to qualify for entry into Walnut Hills and Dater, which has a separate SCPP program. Last year, 456 students out of 2,428 who took the old test, Terra Nova, qualified.

Angela Duchesnault is the parent of a 6th grader and a kindergartner at Fairview. She says her sixth grader "typically scores 93-98% on reading. This time he scored 73 in reading and much lower in math. 

That, she says, derails plans she thought her family had set for her son's high school education. 

"We are angry that they made all these changes and are impacting the futures of this one particular class," she says. "They could have given us more heads-up. They could have slowly made changes. They could have waited until the teachers were prepared to teach to the different test. The could have left well enough alone."

Chief Communications Officer Lauren Worley says the district wonders if the Iowa test being online may have affected outcomes. "It doesn't appear to be the case," she says. "So, at this point we're not contemplating any policy changes or any eligibility changes."

The Iowa test judges students' performance on national standards. The district says the test's content is the same.

At the board's student achievement committee meeting last week, Deputy Superintendent Tianay Amat said the new exam may have unknowingly evened the playing field for students with and without resources to prepare.

Passing the test doesn't mean you're guaranteed a seat at Walnut Hills or Dater. CPS and non-CPS students can retake the test for a better score early next year. 

This story has been updated to include a comment from a CPS parent.