Ohio's Learning Standards FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy, History and Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.

Assessment

Curriculum

General Questions


Assessment

    Can students use bullet points to respond to short answer items within the reading portion of the ELA assessment?

    While it should be stressed that students consistently answer questions using complete, well-structured sentences, there are opportunities within the reading portion of the ELA test where students may be able to provide an answer using bullets and not be penalized. Since these responses are not graded based on the writing attributes, bullets could be an option.
     

     

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    For the extended writing portion of the English language arts assessment, can students construct their answers using bulleted points?

    The extended writing response would not support bulleted responses and should be avoided. The purpose of this portion of the English language arts test is to assess how well students can construct ideas and support them in a well-developed response.
     

     

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    How did the Ohio Department of Education ensure the developmental appropriateness of Ohio’s State Tests at each grade level?

    To ensure that Ohio’s State Tests are appropriate for each grade level, every question on the test was reviewed by a panel of teachers from all over the state of Ohio. This panel included general classroom teachers, intervention specialists, and special education teachers (for diverse learners). In addition, all passages on the tests fall within the accepted Lexile range for the grade level.
     

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    How do I prepare my students for the writing portions on Ohio’s State Tests?

    Classroom instruction should remain focused on teaching students to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of Ohio’s Learning Standards.

     

     

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    How many questions will be on the new test, and what will their point values be?

    The number of questions is variable since it is a point-driven test; however, this first year, there are just one-point items. As we develop more items, there will also be two point items, so the number of questions could vary based on the number of point each item is worth. For example, if there are ten 1-point questions and two 2-point questions, that would add up to the minimum of 14 points with 12 questions. The variability is small, but it will certainly be there.

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    How much of the test will include fiction passages and how much will include nonfiction?

    Please refer to the blueprints on the Ohio Test Portal.

     

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    If districts have decided to do the 90-minute blocks for testing, can they give two in the same day?

    Yes, they can.
     

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    Is there a “kid-friendly” version of the writing rubric available?

    Currently, there are no plans to create another version of the writing rubric.
     

     

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    Is there a way to print the practice tests for teachers and students who do not have access to computers on a daily basis?

    Unfortunately, unless a screen shot of the items is taken then printed, there is no other way to access the online items.
     

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    Must districts administer Part One and Part Two for the assessment in numerical order?

    No, districts can choose to administer Part Two first, if they prefer.
     

     

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    Since AIR, which is Ohio’s current test vendor, also works with other states, does this mean the tests for those states are the same as Ohio’s and that Ohio teachers can use the practice items provided by those states to prepare students for Ohio’s State Tests?
    • It is true that AIR is contracted with other states, including Florida, Arizona, and Utah; however, the tests for these states will not all be the same. It is possible that students could benefit from experiencing the different types of items and their functionality (evidence-based responses, multiple select, hot text, etc.). We suggest, that teachers first look at Ohio’s English language arts test blueprints to see how similar they are to the other states’ blueprints before relying on those states’ additional practice items. Otherwise, these practice items may be helpful in showing how well students demonstrate an understanding of the standards.
    • Remember, too, that the construction of the tests in each state is based on the contract that state has with AIR, which accounts for many of the differences. Overall, if you are looking to expose your students to different types of items (e.g., evidence-based responses, multiple select, hot text, etc.), then there is no harm in looking at the practice tests in other states; however, this in no way indicates that students will encounter the exact same types of items on the Ohio test.
       

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    What are Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs)?
    • The Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) were developed by Ohio educators and other content experts to recommend the most appropriate implementation of content and skills for Ohio’s State Tests for English language arts. The Ohio Department of Education and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) assembled panels of Ohio stakeholders to review actual test questions to define what students should know or be able to do at each performance level. The feedback from the Ohio stakeholders during the standard setting process was compiled and analyzed to determine the cut scores to rank student performance.
    • The Ohio stakeholder recommendations for cut scores were shared with the State Board of Education and approved at the January 2016 board meeting.
       

     

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    What are the components for the English Language Arts assessment?

    For the 2015-2016 administration, the assessment for grades 3 through English Language Arts II will be separated into the following parts:

    • Part One: Reading and one extended writing response
    • Part Two: Reading only

    The assessments beginning in spring 2017, developed with more Ohio-created items, will be separated into the following parts:

    • Grades 3-5
      •  Part Two: Reading only
      •  Part One: Reading and one Extended Writing Response
    • Grades 6 through English Language Arts II
      • Part One: Reading and one Extended Writing Response
      • Part Two: Reading and one Extended Writing Response
         

     

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    What are the major differences between the online version of the test and the paper-pencil version of the test?

    The online version will be the same as the paper-pencil version for the most part. Items that require technology in the online version will not be used or will be adapted for a paper/pencil format.
     

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    What do the acronyms RH and RST stand for? These are standards referenced in the reading section of the English Language Arts test blueprints.

    RH stands for the Reading Standards for Literacy in History and Social Studies in grades 6-12. RST represents the Reading Standards for Literacy in Science, and Technical Subjects in grades 6-12.
     

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    What is the test design, or item breakdown for the new tests?

    This information for ELA will not be released until summer 2016. We do not have the specific dates yet.
     

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    What does the acronym WHST stand for? These are standards referenced in the writing section of the English Language Arts test blueprints.

    WHST stands for Writing for Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. The blueprints reference the standards here because students may be asked to write in response to historical or scientific documents.
     

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    What can districts do to prepare for the upcoming assessments?

    Sample online items for Ohio English language arts and mathematics, as well as online practice tests and released items for the Ohio science and social studies tests, are available on the Portal for Ohio's State Tests. Look for the Practice Tests icon on the home page. Students will see the types of questions that Ohio may administer online. Additionally, the online items give students the opportunity to navigate through the online testing system, use the available tools and features and familiarize themselves with the testing experience. Test takers will not receive scores when submitting tests in the Practice Site.
     

     

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    Will all Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels be equally represented on the tests?

    Every attempt is being made to evenly distribute the DOK levels among the tests; however, there will not be any DOK 4 items on the test.
     

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    Will partial credit be offered for certain questions on the test?
    There will be no partial credit offered on the 2015-2016 assessments; however, partial credit will be offered for particular item types, beginning on the spring 2017 assessment.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Will student writing be graded by a person or a computer?

    Student writing will be hand-scored. The scorers that read student responses are specifically selected and trained to do so. They all have master’s degrees, are trained on each item, and must pass qualification sets before they can score the tests. If their scoring is inconsistent, they are removed from the scoring of that item to make the scoring a fair process.
     

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    Will the English language arts tests have audio items?

    While we are hoping to have multimedia and audio items available in the future, they will not be present on the 2015-2016 administration.

     

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    Will the language standards be assessed on Ohio’s State Tests for English Language Arts?

    Students will need to demonstrate an adequate command of basic conventions when composing their extended writing response.  Questions that specifically test a student’s knowledge of language conventions will not be on the test.
     

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    Will there be one or two pieces of writing on the test this year? How many points will it be worth?
    For the 2015-2016 administration, there will be one extended writing response required for all assessed grades (grade 3 through English Language Arts II). Grades 6 through English Language Arts II will be scored against the rubric and then doubled. Beginning in spring 2017, with more Ohio-developed items, all extended writing responses will be worth 10 points. Grades 3-5 will continue to have one extended writing response, and grades 6 through English Language Arts II will have two extended writing responses.

     

     

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    Will there be extended writing prompts attached to the reading sections of the 2015-2016 test?

    The extended writing prompt will be embedded in part one of the test. There will be no extended writing responses attached to the reading portion. Some of the reading passages may require a short answer response, but this is not designed to be lengthy. In contrast, this type of response will require concise thoughts that demonstrate understanding of the text.
     

     

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Curriculum

    How can districts use Appendices A, B, and C in curriculum planning?

    According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, “students must learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas [; therefore,] the standards promote the literacy skills and concepts required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines.” The appendices provide exemplars and samples for teachers to use as a way of providing students with a “best example” of what it means to demonstrate understanding of certain standards across content areas. Further, the reading lists provided in the appendices are merely exemplars, which are typical examples or excellent models (Oxford Dictionary), and should not be adopted as a district’s or school’s grade level required reading list.

    Although districts are free to select from these options as they develop their required reading lists for various grade levels, they should not view the lists in the appendices as mandated for their use. Such choices are local decisions.

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General Questions

    When should schools implement the Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects?

    The transition to Ohio's Learning Standards should be underway. Students in grades K-2 should be working with the standards now. Full implementation should be in place for all grade levels during the 2013-2014 school year. The Model Curriculum as adopted by the State Board of Education should assist districts, schools and educators in designing curriculum aligned to the standards.

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    What can be done in the short term?

    Educators should become familiar with Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects and the Model Curriculum. They are encouraged to participate in the Targeted Professional Development sessions being held across the state. 

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    How can educators begin to align their instruction to Ohio's Learning Standards?

    Educators should:

    • Focus on content depth
    • Integrate the concepts and skills from reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language into instructional units. Avoid teaching skills in isolation.
    • Use formative instructional strategies and assessments K-12.
    • Develop the students’ ability to view themselves as effective readers and writers – as effective communicators.
    • Use resources that connect the English Language Arts concepts and skills in the classroom to the outside world, which adds relevance to what is being taught.
    • Become familiar with the Content Elaborations and Enduring Understandings found in the Model Curriculum which is posted online.
    • Promote performance-based assessment.
    • Plan and implement appropriate professional development for both teachers and administrators, building both content and pedagogical knowledge for students as well as educators.

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    How will the Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects be distributed?

    The Ohio's Learning Standards in English Language Arts for grades K-12 can be found here. You can print grade-band standards by starting page 10 of the Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts.

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    What supports for Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects are provided by the Ohio Department of Education?

    The following resources can be found on the English Language Arts page.

    • A PowerPoint that provides an Introduction to Ohio's Learning Standards and the Model Curricula
    • The Model Curricula for each topic of Ohio's Learning Standards at each grade level.
    • A comparative analysis between Ohio’s 2002 Academic Content Standards and Ohio's Learning Standards.
    • A crosswalk between Ohio’s 2002 Academic Content Standards and Ohio's Learning Standards.
    • An example of the Eye of Integration for the high school
    • The link to the Ohio's Learning Standards
    • Links to outside resources that provide valuable information:
      • Bringing the Common Core to Life – A video done by one of the writers of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.http://vimeo.com/25242442

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Last Modified: 8/12/2016 2:52:58 PM

Pursuant to ORC 3301.079 (B) (3) and 3313.60, it is the responsibility of Ohio's local boards of education to vet and approve curriculum and educational materials for use in the public schools within their district. The use of any materials posted or linked to on the Ohio Department of Education website, including materials within the Common Core State Standards or Appendices or any state model curricula or other educational resource material, is entirely up to the discretion of each local board of education.