As a member of the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) State Test Steering Committee, Dr. Scott Ebbrecht, Director of Assessment and Alternative Education, recently learned of changes he felt important to share directly with members of the Westerville City School District’s learning community. Ebbrecht stated, “While some of these changes come as a result of the State working to return test results more quickly to districts, it would seem this also serves as a means to reduce ODEs scoring costs.” In addition to sharing noteworthy changes, Ebbrecht affirmed the school district’s plan for the ACT Test, which is free to all juniors; informed stakeholders about the spring 2018 Ohio’s State Tests (OSTs) in April relative to internet access during testing; and provided an assessment practice resource for students and their families.
The district’s 2017-2018 assessment calendar can be accessed at http://www.wcsoh.org/Content/474.
ACT - Free to All Juniors March 20
All students in graduation cohort 2019 will take the ACT college entrance exam free-of-charge on Tuesday, March 20. This is the second year for this initiative, with funding provided by ODE.
Constructed Response Items
Beginning in spring 2018, across all grade levels on OSTs, there will be no questions requiring constructed response essays in Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics. Students may have to type in some short word answers, but no sentences. There also will be various drag-and-drop responses built into the test. English Language Arts (ELA) will continue to have constructed response essay items. All tests (even ELA constructed responses) will be machine scored by artificial intelligence using algorithms. No longer will there be human readers, except for perhaps paper tests that cannot be scored otherwise.
Built-In Test Timer
Both the Test Administrator Interface and Student Site will now have the ability to track student test time. The Student Interface will have a clock on each student's device, with the ability for a student to hide the clock should s/he find it distracting. If the student’s test is paused, the timer stops and will pick up where s/he left off when logging back into the test. This will be embedded into ODEs student practice tests by the end of this month to early February 2018.
No Network Restrictions during Testing
During State testing this past fall, district technology networks were found to be operating within acceptable parameters. Therefore, officials continue to feel that no restrictions are necessary for upcoming State online assessments during the month of April. District officials continue to take proactive measures to prepare for online assessments. By restricting guest Internet access, as well as reducing district-wide access to certain Internet-based services, such as streaming music and video sites, the district realized a significant reduction in bandwidth use. Bandwidth also continues to be expanded in our district to accommodate additional devices that have been purchased and avoid the need to curtail internet access during State testing. For planning purposes, staff and students are encouraged to limit to the extent possible the use of streaming video and audio on testing dates. While district officials believe bandwidth will be adequate to handle increased demand on the network, access to specific sites to save bandwidth for testing may need to occur. If reductions to specific sites were to be put into place over multiple days, users will be notified via email.
Resource/Practice Site for Ohio’s State Tests
Below is a link to OST practice tests for students and their families.