By Joseph Pratt
Pencils have been sharpened and parents have their days back now that students have returned to class for the 2015-16 school year. Just as students can expect school dramas, dances, and science fair projects; they can also plan on a series of tests throughout the year. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has released official dates for testing so that students and teachers can plan accordingly.
Students in grades 3-8, as well as high school, will take Ohio’s State Tests in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies in the current 2015-16 school year.
Tests have been designed by American Institute of Research (AIR) this year. AIR is a well-known vendor for school testing. Ohio is no stranger to the vendor, having used them for science and social studies in 2014-15. Ohio is now relying on AIR for testing needs, with the state abandoning its partnership with PAARC testing after issues arose last year.
Ohio and AIR have been working on new tests since last August and explained the process as a five step process.
ODE identifies which learning standards will be tested in each grade and subject; test blueprints are published for each grade and subject; ODE reviews the questions to ensure each aligns to the standards Ohio has chosen for the test; committees of Ohio teachers and other stakeholders review sets of questions and select those that can appear on the tests; and, finally, ODE and AIR build online and paper tests by selecting from the list of questions approved by the review committee.
Tests are designed to last three hours and are broken down in two parts. Schools do have the opportunity to administer the tests in one three-hour sitting, however. Districts have the option to give students the tests on computers, in paper format, or by using a combination of both formats.
School districts will have to select 10 consecutive days for paper testing, or 15 consecutive days for online tests within the windows of dates allocated for testing.
English language arts testing will be held April 4 to April 22 for paper tests, and April 4 to April 29 for online tests. Tests in mathematics, science, and social studies will be held April 4 to May 6 for paper tests and April 4 to May 13 for online tests.
The ODE’s website has practice test options for the science and social studies topics, math and English are soon to follow.
Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT) will be administered throughout three periods this year. Fall administration will be held between Monday, Oct. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 8. The data files on these tests will be available for download on Dec. 14 and reports are due Jan. 7. Spring administration will be held between Monday, March 14 throughout Sunday, March 27. The release dates are still to be determined. Summer administration is optional and will be held Monday, June 13 through Sunday, June 26. The release dates are still to be determined.
The state test for third grade English language arts will meet the requirements for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Testing will be held in the fall, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. Districts will select five consecutive days within this window to administer tests.
Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities will be hell in the spring, with a window of Monday, February 22 throughout Friday, April 15.
English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) will be held in the spring, with a window of Monday, Jan. 11 throughout Friday, March 4.
Districts will receive test results by June 15 for third grade English language arts, and June 30 for all other tests.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03