For school superintendents, principals and treasurers


Third Grade Reading Alternative Assessments announcements
The Ohio Department of Education recently announced the approval of three alternative assessments for students who do not meet or exceed the promotion score on the Ohio Achievement Assessment for reading as required by the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

The approved assessments are:

  • Iowa Assessments Form F Level 9 (Grade 3)
  • Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) - Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP)
  • Terra Nova 3

According to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, the alternative assessment for reading will align to end-of-year third grade standards. A student must achieve the accepted third grade level of achievement as designated by the assessment. This may be comparable or more rigorous than the Ohio Achievement Assessment for reading.

Districts can determine when they administer the alternative assessment during the student’s third grade year, which includes the summer. The alternative assessment may only be used for promotion purposes if a student has not reached the promotion score on the third grade Ohio Achievement Assessment for reading.

For more information about the alternative assessments or the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, please visit the Ohio Department of Education website.

Criminal background check updates required for educators who have permanent and non-tax certificates
Educators who hold permanent certificates and permanent non-tax certificates are required by state law to update their FBI criminal background checks every five years through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). In addition, an updated BCI background check also is required if the certificate holder has lived outside Ohio within the past five years. Because this law was put into place five years ago, educators holding these certificates need to update the background checks when they expire this year, if they have not already done so. Educators may view the dates of their previous background checks through the Educator Profile on the department’s website.

As permitted in law, on July 1, 2014, the Ohio Department of Education will begin inactivating permanent certificates of individuals whose background checks have expired and were not updated. As a result, these educators will not be permitted to work in Ohio schools until they successfully update their background checks. It is the responsibility of permanent certificate holders and their employing school or district to ensure that criminal background checks are kept current and that educators are not working with expired background checks.

The department requests that certificate holders complete their background checks through WebCheck, which allows fingerprints to be sent immediately to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for the fastest possible processing. A list of WebCheck locations is posted on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. When completing this process, be sure the WebCheck operator sends results to the Ohio Department of Education. Questions may be directed to educator.licensure@education.ohio.gov or at (614) 466-3693 or (877) 644-6338 (toll-free).

Permanent certificates, which are no longer issued, were available for qualifying teachers, administrators and pupil personnel years ago before the current educator licensure system was put into place. Educators with licenses from the current system also must update their background checks every five years.

Ohio Students field test Next Generation Assessments
Last week, Ohio took the first step toward giving all students a new generation of tests to ensure all students leave school ready for college and careers. Ohio began field testing Ohio’s Next Generation Assessments.

The new computer-based tests will replace the Ohio Achievement Assessments during the 2014-2015 school year and will eventually replace the Ohio Graduation Test. They are based on Ohio’s New Learning Standards in English language arts, math, science and social studies.

The field tests are occurring a year before the new tests will actually be implemented. Ohio is giving students, teachers and schools the opportunity to see how a computer-based test will work.

The first week of field testing, more than 23,533 English language arts and math tests were taken. In addition, 24,976 social studies and science tests were taken.

In addition, PARCC has recently released a practice test in English Language Arts/Literacy so that all students, not just those involved in field testing, can experience the test items the way they will appear on the field tests. They can be found here:


Technology Foundation offering Digital Learning and Online Testing symposium
The Northwest Ohio Educational Technology Foundation is offering a Digital Learning and Online Testing symposium at Bowling Green State University, Friday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sessions will include a panel discussion on the Technology Readiness Tool, as well as an extended session by Sam Orth, Chief Technology Officer for the Management Council of the Ohio Education Computer Network.

Registration is free for technology coordinators and superintendents, and $69 for all other educators. Participants will receive lunch and a five-hour certificate. To register, call the Northwest Ohio Educational Technology Foundation at (800) 966-9638 or email nwoet@nwoet.org by April 9, 2014. Go to www.nwoet.org  for additional information.