LANCASTER, Ohio (WCMH) — State testing should be suspended for a year, says a Berne Union student with nearly 500 signatures on his petition, and his superintendent agrees.

David Randolph, 16, in 10th grade at Berne Union High School in Fairfield County, says that students have fallen behind in their coursework due to COVID-19. In one of his classes, they are behind five chapters, he says.

Randolph believes that cramming for the state tests only adds to student stress, so he put up a petition at change.org.

“I decided to do the petition because most of the students are not physically ready or mentally ready for the state tests, and we are quite behind in most of our classes,” said Randolph. “It’s counting toward our grade and our graduation. If we don’t graduate with a certain GPA, or if we get a bad score, some colleges and universities won’t accept you.”

Superintendent of Berne Union Local Schools, Jon Parker, said that he was pleased to see Randolph involved in the educational process.

Parker agreed with Randolph’s position to suspend testing. “I do agree that state testing this year should be suspended. I believe there should be a one-year moratorium on the testing.”

Randolph says the tests could be rescheduled, perhaps by extending the school year a month, or pushing the tests into the autumn. “They could extend the school year a month or so, so we could get caught up and then push the state tests back maybe 2 or 3 months,” he explained.

But Parker doesn’t think pushing back testing is practical. “There are so many parts to doing it later. For instance, the teachers union is not contracted to teach another month. But if they suspend the tests for a year and picked it back up in ’21-’22, you will be OK.”

While Randolph is worried about colleges and the way testing affects entrance requirements, Parker thinks there will be grace for the COVID-19 year.

“I think the ACT scores will be down this year across the board. And many colleges are not requiring that standardized test right now,” Parker said.

Petition created at change.org by student David Randolph to suspend standardized testing in Ohio for 2021.