For Families and Students
Parent Resource Toolkit
Assessment Toolkit for Parents
Assessment is a term educators use when describing many of the ways they learn about your child’s educational progress. Assessments that school districts give include state tests and a variety of other types of tests, along with classroom activities that help teachers determine when each student needs additional help or practice, and when they are ready to move ahead in the learning process.
There are several types of tests, including summative, interim, formative, and diagnostic (such as readiness tests and screeners). Some tests, such as formative tests, are teaching tools, designed to help teachers see how well your child is learning as the lessons are being taught. Some tests are diagnostic, designed to see how much a student knows at the beginning of an instructional period. Summative tests are given at the end of an instructional period to measure whether your child has learned the information he or she was to have been taught. If a student has not, it identifies areas in which the student may need support. State achievement tests tell us how well students are growing in the knowledge and skills outlined in Ohio's Learning Standards. These tests help guide and determine instruction so we can be sure that educators are preparing students for long-term success. Test results also allow you to know how well your local school is performing compared to others around the state.
Ultimately, state tests give schools and districts information that helps them improve how students are taught, coach teachers, and provide additional support in their efforts to help students succeed.
Ohio’s State Tests (OST)
Ohio’s State Tests are summative tests, which means students take tests at the end of the year for grades 3-8 and they take end-of-course tests for high school. The tests measure how students statewide are developing the knowledge and skills described in Ohio's Learning Standards for each subject area. The test results also help measure each public school and district’s performance, which is reflected on its annual Ohio School Report Card.
Students in grades 3 - 8 and high school take Ohio’s State Tests in English language arts and mathematics. At certain points in middle and high school, these students also take state tests in science and social studies.
OHIO’S LEARNING STANDARDS
Ohio’s Learning Standards are the foundation of Ohio’s State Tests and explain the knowledge and skills Ohio students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 need to gain. Ohio’s Learning Standards stress skills like critical thinking and problem solving — qualities today’s employers value. By teaching our students to apply these skills to what they are learning in school, we can make sure they are on track to graduate from high school and enjoy success in college, careers, and life.
Ohio measures the performance of its schools based on how well students are progressing in gaining knowledge and skills. We do this by measuring student performance on annual state tests based on the standards. Ohio’s Learning Standards are the foundation for Ohio’s State Tests.
Ohio is a local control state in education. This means that educators in local districts choose their own curriculum that is approved by their local boards of education. Based on the district’s curriculum, educator teams plan their instruction and select the teaching techniques, textbooks, and other materials for their students that will help them learn.
Teams of teachers across the state helped develop model curricula and other related tools. State law does not mandate that school districts use these guides. But, by doing so, educators will find in-depth descriptions explaining what the standards mean that will help them develop local curricula and instructional plans.
ACCESSIBILITY FOR OHIO’S STATE TESTS
Ohio’s Accessibility Manual provides information about the accessibility features of Ohio’s State Tests for grades 3-8 and high school in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Accessibility means how students access the test—in other words, how students use tools to engage in the test. The manual helps to define the specific accessibility features available for all students, students with disabilities, students who are English learners, and students who are English learners with disabilities.
OHIO’S STATE TESTS PORTAL
The Ohio State Tests Portal is the gateway to all systems and resources for the administration of Ohio’s State Tests. It includes FAQs and resources for students and families, teachers/test administrators, test coordinators, and technology coordinators. Although the test portal is available to the public, several features require users to log in using their account information. The following resources are available for students and families.
- The Student Practice Site is located in the Students and Families section of the test portal. Students and parents can sign in as a “Guest User”, select a specific grade level, and find an online practice test and released test items organized by subject area and year. Students will see the item types for online tests. Additionally, the online practice tests give students the opportunity to experience navigating through the online testing system, use the available tools and features and familiarize themselves with the online testing experience.
- Student Testing Site Tutorials - These tutorials provide information about the online Student Testing Site. Part 1 walks through the student sign-in process and navigation. Part 2 covers the variety of tools available to students for online testing.
- Online Practice Test and Item Release Scoring Guides - These documents provide the answer keys and scoring guides for the Practice Tests and various released items available on the Student Practice Site. They include the item type, the content strand, and the content statement assessed as an answer key and the number of points associated with each item. They also include the guidelines for scoring (i.e., scoring rubrics), sample responses, notes on scoring, and rationales that describe why response options are correct or incorrect. The scoring guides also contain information about Depth of Knowledge (DOK) for ELA, math, and social studies and Cognitive Demand (CD) for science.
All of these resources give educators, students, and families insight into the kinds of questions and online tools students experience, and they are useful to help inform classroom instruction and assessment. Teachers and families may use these resources to help students know what to expect during online testing.
- Practice Test Scoring Guides
- Item Release Scoring Guides
- Test Specifications describe the assessment parts and item types, assessment blueprints, and item specifications to help educators and the general public better understand the design of Ohio's State Tests. Test specification documents are used to guide the development of the Ohio's State Tests.
- Test Blueprints serve as a guide for test construction and provide an outline of the content and skills to be measured on the test. They contain information about individual tests, including the number of test items, the number of points on the test, and show how the learning standards are grouped in order to report the test results. All learning standards identified on the blueprint are eligible to appear on a test form and should be taught during instruction.
- Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) are the link between Ohio’s Learning Standards and performance standards. They were developed by Ohio educators and other content experts to illustrate the typical demonstration of the learning for each of the five performance levels: Limited, Basic, Proficient, Accomplished (previously Accelerated) and Advanced. Parents can review the PLDs for each grade level/course to see what students are expected to know and be able to do at each performance level for a specific test. Teachers often use the PLDs to help with their review of local curriculum materials to see if opportunities are being given to students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of subject/grade level content at the different performance levels.
- Family Score Reports Interpretive Guides are designed to help families understand the content of the score reports and what the results mean for their students. The English version of the interpretive guides is located on the test portal. Translated Family Interpretive Guides are located on the Department’s website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ohio’s State Tests can be found here.
- Assessment Committees - The Department created assessment development committees to review test questions and to help set scoring parameters. Ohio stakeholders serve on these committees. To allow as many stakeholders as possible an opportunity to serve, the Department will periodically rotate current members off the committee so that new members can join. The Assessment Committees page presents information on test development, assessment committees, and how to get involved with developing state tests. If you would like to nominate yourself for membership on an assessment committee, please click here to complete the nomination form and submit it online.
- Student Readiness Toolkits are standards-based guides designed to help educators determine whether students are in their learning when starting the new school year. The toolkits include curriculum and assessment materials, which may help identify instructional gaps and determine instructional priorities. These toolkits may also help parents become familiar with some of the curriculum, instruction, and assessment resources that may be used in the classroom to help support students.
- Additional Resources for Each Subject Area
- Active, involved parents are an essential resource for Ohio’s schools in making the most of every child’s educational experience, from pre-kindergarten all the way through high school. The Department’s Parents web page has the information you can use to help guide your child’s education.
Alternate Assessment for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD)
Ohio’s Alternate for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD) is a test designed to allow students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an appropriately rigorous assessment. It is the federally required statewide assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to participate in the state’s general assessment even with allowable accommodations. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) limits the total number of students who are assessed statewide with an alternate assessment to 1% of the total number of students in the state who are assessed (or approximately 9% of all students with disabilities). The AASCD, or Alternate Assessment as it is sometimes called, measures Ohio’s Learning Standards–Extended (OLS-E). These learning standards are also commonly known as extended standards. The extended standards help to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are provided with multiple ways to learn and demonstrate their knowledge while maintaining the rigor and high expectations of Ohio’s Learning Standards. The Alternate Assessment Participation Decision-Making Tool is a required document used to guide and support individualized education program (IEP) teams in determining whether a student is most appropriately assessed with an alternate assessment. IEP teams must use the tool each time the team is considering a student’s participation in the alternate assessment. The decision-making tool should be used along with the Alternate Assessment Decision-Making Framework (Flowchart) since it helps to clarify and set specific criteria that students must meet for points in the flowchart. Ohio’s Accessibility Manual is a comprehensive policy document providing information about the accessibility features of Ohio’s State Tests for grades 3-8 and high school in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The manual helps to define the specific accessibility features available for all students, students with disabilities, students who are English learners, and students who are English learners with disabilities. The Ohio Alternate Assessment Portal is the gateway to all systems and resources for the administration of the Alternate Assessment for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities. It includes FAQs and resources for students and families, teachers/test administrators, test coordinators, and technology coordinators. Although this test portal is available to the public, several features require users to log in using their account information.
- The Student Practice Site is in the Students and Families section of the test portal. Students and parents can sign in as a “Guest User”, select a specific grade level, and find an online practice test and released test items organized by subject area and year. Students will see the item types for online tests. Additionally, the online practice tests give students the opportunity to experience navigating through the online testing system, use the available tools and features and familiarize themselves with the online testing experience.
- Practice Tests Scoring Guides – These documents provide the extended standard, item target level, access limitations, answer key, reporting category, and notes on scoring information for each item on the AASCD Practice Tests available on the Student Practice Site.
- AASCD Item Specifications provide an overview of the structure and content for each grade and subject area of the AASCD, a description of the test design, information on the items that will appear on the tests, and a test blueprint that identifies the range and distribution of items grouped into various reporting categories. These test specifications also provide specific guidelines for the development of all items used for the AASCD.
- AASCD Test Blueprint serves as a guide for test construction and provides an outline of the content and skills to be measured on the test. They contain information about individual tests, including the reporting category, the learning standards included for each reporting category, the item range for each reporting category, and the total test items for each test.
- Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) outline the knowledge, skills, and practices that students performing at any given level who take Ohio’s alternate assessment should be able to demonstrate in each subject area at each grade level.
- The Score Reports Interpretive Guide is designed to help families understand the content of the score reports and what the results mean for their students.
Alternate Assessment Family Resources were developed as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resources to describe the Alternate Assessment for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities.
Ohio's English Language Proficiency Assessments
English learners (Els) are a growing part of Ohio’s Pre-K-12 student population. Over the last ten years, Ohio’s population of EL students has doubled to approximately 60,000 students. Spanish is the home language of almost 40% of Ohio’s English learners along with 90 other home languages. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Ohio must identify English learners, annually assess their English language proficiency, provide reasonable accommodations for them on state assessments, and implement accountability systems that include long-term goals and measures of progress.
OHIO ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY SCREENER (OELPS)
OHIO ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY ASSESSMENT (OELPA)
The Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) is the state summative test given to all English learners annually. It is used to determine an English learner’s proficiency level at the end of each year and provides the evidence needed to meet the exit criteria of the English language program. The OELPA is aligned with the K-12 English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards and is used to meet the federal requirement of an annual assessment of English proficiency measuring listening, reading, and writing. Parents will receive a Family Report each year with their student’s OELPA scores. Parents and districts can download the Translated OELPA Family Reports from the Department’s website. The reports are available in in the most common home languages reported by Ohio’s schools. More information about the OELPA including FAQs and English language program exit criteria can be found on the OELPA page of the Department’s website. Students, families, teachers, test administrators, test coordinators, and technology coordinators can find practice tests and other resources on the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessments Portal.
ASSESSMENT ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ENGLISH LEARNERS
It is important for all Ohio students to receive equal opportunities and support needed to reach their academic goals. Ohio offers English learners multiple ways to meaningfully engage with and demonstrate their content knowledge and skills. In doing so, the state provides specific accommodations on state tests, especially those that do not test English language proficiency. Please see the Revised Assessment Accommodations for English Learners page of the Department’s website for information about accommodations for English learners on state tests and translated versions of this information. Ohio’s Accessibility Manual is a comprehensive policy document providing information about the accessibility features for all of Ohio’s State Tests for grades 3-8 and high school in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The manual helps to define the specific accessibility features available for all students, students with disabilities, students who are English learners, and students who are English learners with disabilities. Ohio's Accessibility Manual for Ohio’s English Language Proficiency Assessments is a manual that specifically applies to EL students. It emphasizes an individualized approach to the implementation of assessment practices for students who have diverse needs and participate in the English language proficiency program. At the same time, this manual supports important instructional decisions about accessibility for EL students. Ohio recognizes the critical connection between accessibility in instruction and accessibility during the assessment. For questions related to English Language Assessments, please contact [email protected].
Third Grade Reading Guarantee
The ability to read is the foundation of learning. Research shows that children who are not reading at a third-grade level by the end of grade three are more likely to have trouble learning in all classroom subjects in higher grades. Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a program to identify students from kindergarten through grade three who are struggling in reading. Schools must provide help and support to make sure all students are on track for reading success by the end of third grade. This video explains Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Struggling readers also greatly benefit from their families’ involvement and help at home. The Department’s Family Resource page will give you the information you need about family and home support. The Third Grade Reading Guarantee FAQs provide answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) received by the Department regarding this program. For any questions about the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, please email [email protected].
Ohio's High School Graduation Requirements
Because there is no one-size-fits-all way to graduate, Ohio gives students several ways to qualify for a high school diploma. Students and their families can choose the way that works best for them.
State law introduced new, permanent graduation requirements that are available for the classes of 2021 and beyond.
- Students entering ninth grade between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019, have the option to meet the new requirements outlined for the classes of 2021 and 2022 or complete one of the original three pathways to graduation.
- Students entering ninth grade after July 1, 2019, must meet the new requirements outlined for the classes of 2023 and beyond.
Long-term Grad Requirements 2023 and BeyondThis guidance document provides a preliminary outline of the changes to testing and graduation requirements.
Early Learning Assessments
Ohio’s Early Learning Assessment is a tool for teachers of preschool-age children to learn about the current level of each child’s skills, knowledge, and behaviors in the areas of social foundations, language and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, physical well-being, and motor development, and fine arts.
At the beginning of each school year, children in public and community school kindergarten programs are assessed using Ohio’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Revised (KRA-R)This assessment includes ways for teachers to measure a child’s readiness for engaging with instruction aligned to the kindergarten standards. The KRA-R is a tool that teachers use to get to each child. It is not designed to rank children by ability, nor is it a tool for identifying students with disabilities or gifted students.
This tool is designed to help teachers get to know their students in a way that does not interrupt learning. The tool requires the teacher to watch the student during the natural course of the school day’s activities so children are unaware of the assessment taking place.
Ohio’s Early Learning and Development Standards (birth to kindergarten entry) are the basis for the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Revised. Ohio’s Early Learning and Development Standards in all domains of school readiness reflect the comprehensive development of children beginning at birth to kindergarten entry. Their purpose is to support the development and well-being of young children and to foster their learning. The standards promote the understanding of early learning and development, provide a comprehensive and coherent set of early childhood educational expectations for children’s development and learning, and guide the design and implementation of curriculum, assessment, and instructional practices with young children.