Beginning with this school year (2014-15), Ohio school districts will switch from the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) and Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT) to a new set of exams. These Next Generation Assessments more closely align with the state’s new learning standards and with the PLSD curriculum. These assessments also encourage students to use the critical thinking skills necessary to prepare them for college and career.
You might wonder why we invest time and effort doing this kind of testing and assessment. The simple answer is that it helps us identify improvements to our curriculum and better serve every student’s individual learning needs. These tools also are critical for gauging the performance and academic growth of individual students, as well as for evaluating the overall effectiveness of the district’s curriculum and teaching. They help us compare our performance to other schools and districts across Ohio.
Before the first rounds of tests begin in mid-February, it is important that staff know what to expect for their students. To that end we have developed several resources for you.
We have developed grade-level specific information about testing requirements and schedules on our website, www.pickerington.k12.oh.us You can find the link to testing information in the menu along the left-hand side of the home page. Simply click on the appropriate grade level for your children to see when they will be tested.
To help students, parents and staff members understand all the changes associated with the Next Generation Assessments, PLSD has created two types of videos: The first explains the Next Generation Assessments. The second explains the testing calendar for the different PLSD grade levels. There also are a number of student and parent resource links available for the Next Generation Assessment.
What is PARCC?
Elementary School Explanation of Calendar
Middle School Explanation of Calendar
Junior High School Explanation of Calendar
High School Explanation of Calendar
The new tests differ from previous ones in a few significant ways. Students will take most of the tests online on district-provided iPads. The exceptions are American History and American Government (POD).
Students will take the tests in two parts. Part 1 is a performance-based assessment (PBA) taken during February and March 2015. Part 2 is an end-of-the-year assessment (EOY) to be taken in April and May.
Another difference is that each test is divided into one, two or three sections. For example, English language arts at Grade 6 will have three different sections. Math at Grade 7 will have two sections. Each exam section will be given to all affected PLSD students on the same days, listed on the district website at the link mentioned earlier.
On PLSD’s website you will find a calendar for each of the grade levels showing the date and length of time for each of the units of the assessment. Building principals are currently working on creating an internal schedule that will describe the daily schedule (i.e. changes in bell schedule, lunch schedule, etc). Building principals will be discussing that schedule with staff members during the January 16th professional development day.
Training for Staff
With new assessments come new responsibilities and assignments for all staff involved in testing. There will be two training sessions that will be given to all teaching staff before the start of the Next Generation Assessments. The first, on January 16th, will be an overview of the testing process, including the schedule of assessments and daily schedule, also included will be the roles and responsibilities and an overview of the new test security plan. The second training will be held in early February, which will cover the logistics and technical directions for administering the online assessments.
There have been numerous concerns raised about the students taking assessments online and the stability of the Wifi. To correct this issue we will be installing proctor-caching computers in each of the buildings. Simply this computer will download all of the students’ tests the night before the students take the assessment.
The proctor-caching computer then sends the test to the student’s iPad and data is then saved back to the proctor-caching computer. So the only time that we need outside Internet is at night to send the results to Pearson and to download the new assessments. If the Internet goes down during testing this process will allow our students to continue testing without interruption.