The Ohio Department of Education, over the past several weeks, has made frequent changes to assessments that will be administered this school year to students across the state. Westerville City School District (WCSD) officials have remained informed of these changes and recently finalized the local testing calendar for district students.
“We’ve been closely monitoring all changes for this school year and have been working with administrators and teachers to develop a testing calendar,” said Dr. Scott Ebbrecht, WCSD’s director of assessment and alternative education. “The calendar also incorporates parental feedback that we obtained through formal, coordinated outreach efforts last spring.”
Ebbrecht noted that emphasis was placed on three areas during development of the district’s 2015-2016 testing calendar:
- Incorporating assessments that clearly provided information to teachers that would help inform their instruction for students;
- Finding ways to increase instructional time and decrease assessment time; and
- Adhering to Ohio Department Education assessment/reporting requirements.
According to Ebbrecht, the most important testing updates of which parents should be aware include:
- Spring 2015 State Test Results & Reports - Grade 3-8 parent reports detailing results of their child’s performance on last spring’s Social Studies and Science State tests, as well as all High School (English I, English II, Algebra I, Geometry, Physical Science, American History, American Government) State tests, are scheduled to be published and sent home with students in November. Grade 3-8 Math and Reading Parent Reports will be sent home in December/January.
- Spring 2016 State Test Changes - The Ohio Department of Education recently announced that it will no longer use PARCC assessments, but instead will use American Institutes for Research (AIR) as its test provider. Tests this year will be administered during one test window in April, as opposed to two different assessment windows like last school year. It is also important to note that the Ohio Department of Education decreased the amount of time students will spend on Reading and Math testing by as much as 50 percent from previous tests in 2014-2015.
- Spring 2016 Grade Levels Assessed - Recently, test session lengths were released which enabled districts to finalize their testing calendar.
ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL: All students in grades 3-8 will be assessed in Reading and Mathematics. In addition, Science will be assessed in grades 5 and 8, and Social Studies in grades 4 and 6.
HIGH SCHOOL: Students scheduled to graduate in 2018 and beyond who are currently enrolled in English 1, English 2, Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology, and/or American History are required to take Ohio’s State Tests. High school students taking American Government this year are required to take Ohio’s State Test in Social Studies. However, students taking IB or AP American Government are not required to take the American Government State test if taking the IB or AP exam test. Students scheduled to graduate in 2016 and 2017 are required to take and pass the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) in Reading, Mathematics, Writing, Science, and Social Studies. The OGT will be a paper/pencil exam administered in late October 2015 and March 2016.
- Preparation for Assessments - As Ohio’s State Tests are intended to be taken online, for more than a year, Westerville City School district personnel have been identifying and planning for the technology and resources needed for the online delivery of statewide assessments at school. This year, all students will take State assessments online except for those students completing the OGT. Exceptions to online test administration also will be made for identified special needs students as indicated within their IEP, identified and selected English Language Learners, or other recognized special circumstances.
- Helpful Web Links - Parents are encouraged to visit the following web link with their child(ren) as AIR continues to add resources, sample items, tutorials for taking online assessments, and practice tests: http://oh.portal.airast.org/ocba/ .
Following is the WCSD 2015-16 assessment calendar organized by grade level. A version of the calendar organized by testing dates also is available on the district website at www.wcsoh.org.