Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) FAQ

Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) FAQ

This guidance answers the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) received by the Ohio Department of Education regarding the OELPA.


Updated February 2020

General Questions

OELPA Format and Test Design

Accommodations

Manuals

Test Administration

Practice Test

Test Security

Scoring and Reporting

Technology

Professional Development

Standards


General Questions

    What is the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA)?

    The OELPA is an English language proficiency test composed of four tests which measure a student’s English skills in the four language domains: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

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    How was the OELPA developed?

    The OELPA was developed by the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) consortium through a federal Enhanced Assessment Grant. Eight states belong to the consortium: Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia. OELPA is Ohio’s title for the same ELPA21 test administered by the other ELPA states.
     

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    Who takes the OELPA?

    Students enrolled in a public school who have been identified as English learners are required to take the OELPA annually. English learners enrolled in chartered nonpublic schools are not required but may take the OELPA.

    Chartered nonpublic schools that receive Title III funds should consult with the Title III public district to determine whether the OELPA or some other assessment will be used to provide evidence of student progress in the school’s program.
     

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    Do foreign-exchange students have to take the OELPA?
    Foreign-exchange students identified as English learners are required to take the OELPA.
     

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    Is a screener associated with the OELPA?
    Yes, the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS) has been developed as part of the Ohio’s English language proficiency assessment suite. Schools administer the OELPS to identify English learners. Refer to the OELPS webpage for more information.
     

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OELPA Format and Test Design

    What are the grade bands for the OELPA?

    The grade bands are Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grades 2-3, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12. The OELPA grade bands align with the grade bands in the Ohio English Language Proficiency Standards.
     

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    What is the design of the OELPA?

    The OELPA is an online test. Ohio allows OELPA paper tests as an accommodation for specific pre-approved situations. All districts and schools are expected to schedule time and provide technology appropriately for their local situations.

    Beginning with spring 2020, the grades K and 1 writing domain test will be taken by students online and not on paper. All domain tests for all grade bands are assessed online, unless the student, school or district is eligible for paper tests.
     

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    What is the paper test of the OELPA?
    The paper test is a paper-based version of the OELPA. There is no online component in the paper test. The paper test is intended as an accommodation and requires pre-approval from the Ohio Department of Education (Department). The paper test includes all four domain tests: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
     

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    Which situations would allow the use of OELPA paper tests?
    The following are situations where students, districts and schools may be eligible for paper testing:
    • A district or school with students who will require the use of paper tests as an accommodation documented in an IEP or 504 plan or due to a student’s religious beliefs; or
    • A district or school that lacks the required technology infrastructure to test all students online, including schools that:
      • Are new to state testing and verify a lack of technology to test all students online; or
      • Experience a change in the district’s or school’s technology system that impacts capacity to test all students online. 
    Approval of the paper order depends on the district or school submitting a reason in TIDE in the comment box explaining why the district or school needs an exception to online testing. Districts and schools submit paper orders during the on-time paper order window in the fall and the additional order window which is usually open January through the end of March.

     

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    Does the K-1 online writing test require a paper supplement?
    No. The Kindergarten and Grade 1 OELPA no longer includes a paper component. All domain tests including reading, listening and speaking for all grade bands are assessed online unless the student, school or district is eligible for paper tests.

    The K-1 Writing Supplemental Test Booklet was developed to help students who may have difficulty using the keyboard. It is encouraged to have students practice on the keyboard using the OELPA Student Practice Site

     

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    In addition to the paper test, what special versions of the OELPA are available?
    Large print and Braille test booklets are available. Large print is ordered through TIDE. Please go to the TIDE User Guide for a description of TIDE. Braille is ordered through the Ohio Help Desk ohhelpdesk@air.org.
     

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    If approved for paper administration, what materials are required for the OELPA paper test?
    A paper test is available for grades K-12, including administration manuals, for districts, schools and students who cannot test online. PreID labels are required for the paper tests.
     

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    What kind of items and tasks do students complete when taking the OELPA?

    Item types include multiple-choice, word match, drag and drop, short-constructed response and extended response. Examples of item types for an online test can be found at the Student Practice Site. Items and tasks are similar on the online and paper tests.
     

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Accommodations

    Are translations available for the OELPA?

    No, translations are not available. Students must take the test in English as this is a test to determine the level of English development.

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    Are accommodations available for the OELPA?
    Yes. Please review the OELPA Accessibility Manual for appropriate accommodations on the OELPA. Please review Ohio’s Accessibility Manual for English learner appropriate accommodations on Ohio’s State Tests.

     

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    What is the domain exemption?
    Domain exemptions are available for the OELPA. Districts will register exempted students in TIDE in advance of the test window and will indicate exemptions under test settings and tools in TIDE. The domain exemption must be marked prior to the start of the test. Please see the TIDE User Guide for instructions on manually editing or uploading test settings.

    Please note the exempted domain test(s) will appear in the list of available tests for the student. The test administrator must review the tests and only approve those tests that are not exempted. The student will see the exempted test(s) if the test administrator approves the exempted test(s). If this situation occurs, district test coordinators must submit a test status request to invalidate the exempted test(s) in TIDE.

    Districts may exempt students from no more than three of the four domains or tests on the OELPA if the student’s disability is such that the student cannot participate in the stated domain or test per the individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan with existing accommodations. The domain exemption must be documented on the IEP or 504 plan to be allowed. For example, students with hearing impairments could be exempt from taking the listening domain test; a nonverbal student could be exempt from taking the speaking domain test. An English learner reading below grade level is still a reader and would not qualify for an exemption. Students must complete at least one domain test to count in district participation.

    Students will receive an overall designation of Proficient if they receive 4’s and/or 5’s on all non-exempt domains. Students cannot receive an overall designation of Proficient if any domain is untested in the absence of a valid exemption or invalidated after testing.
     

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Manuals

    Which manuals are available for the OELPA?
    OELPA manuals are posted on the test portal under OELPA Resources except for the Directions for Administration, which is a secure document as it is sent with the paper test materials. There also is a link to the manuals on the OELPA page on the department web page.

    Test Coordinator Manual. Covers policies and procedures for districts and schools administering the OELPA. It is not secure and does not need to be returned;

    Test Administration Manual. This manual is for the online test only – guides the test administrator in log-in procedures and covers general test administration activities for the online test – it is not secure and not required to be returned;

    Directions for Administration. This manual, for the paper test only, includes the script to be read aloud for all students. It is a secure document and must be returned with test materials. It is unavailable on the Department’s website or the test portal;

    Data Entry Interface User Guide. Data Entry Interface User GuideSupports users of the Data Entry Interface (DEI) to enter student responses for the K-12 paper tests;

    Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener and Assessment Accessibility Manual. Presents OELPA accessibility features; and

    Understanding Results Manual  Explains the data used to create the results.

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Test Administration

    What are the dates for the OELPA test administration?

    The OELPA test administration dates are found on the Test Dates webpage. Generally, the OELPA is available in February and March each year.
     

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    In what order do schools administer the four domain tests of the OELPA?

    There is no fixed or required sequence. Districts may administer the four OELPA domain tests in the order of their choice. Many districts schedule the speaking test first since it takes the longest amount of time to administer.
     

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    How must districts and school schedule the four domain tests?

    Districts and schools may schedule and administer the four domain tests in any order within the test window. Domain tests need not be administered on consecutive days, nor all domain tests in the same day.
     

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    May districts administer multiple tests the same day?
    Yes, although it is not recommended as multiple tests in one day may cause undue pressure for the student. However, if districts give multiple tests in one day, test administrators should allow students to take a break between tests to reduce testing fatigue. The test administrator also must ensure that enough time is scheduled so that all tests started are completed on the day they are begun.

     

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    Can districts administer the OELPA to a group of students or must districts administer the OELPA in a one-to-one administration?
    Only the speaking test must be given in a one-to-one administration with one student and one test administrator in a test room. The student will speak aloud the responses. Administering the test in four corners of a large room such as a gym is not permitted. This presents a test security issue.

    The listening, reading and writing tests may be given to student’s individually or in a group administration.


     

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    May the student start a test on one day and complete the test on another day?
    A student should complete a test on the same day in which it was started. There may be extraordinary circumstances that would cause a student’s test to be stopped. In these cases, the district test coordinator should submit a test status request for a reopen and explain the situation in TIDE. Reopening a test session requires Department approval to resume the test on another day.
     

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    Is it necessary to register the English learners who will take the OELPA?
    Yes. Districts must register or preidentify each English learner in TIDE. Registration places the student in the system and allows the student to access the test. Registration also allows the test administrator to configure test settings and accommodations when necessary.
     

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    Who administers the OELPA?

    A test administrator must meet the following criteria to administer the OELPA:

    • Be an employee of the district or school; and
    • Hold a current license, certificate or permit issued by the Ohio Department of Education.

    The license or certificate is not limited to a teaching license or certificate.

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    How much time should a district or school schedule for the tests?

    The tests are untimed; however, estimates are posted on the OELPA webpage for districts or schools to schedule test time.
     

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    Who are the Department’s assessment vendors?

    The Ohio Department of Education works with Cambium Assessment (formerly American Institutes for Research), Measurement Incorporated (MI) and English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) to administer the OELPA. Cambium Assessment provides the administration resources and reporting of the OELPA.
    Measurement Incorporated prints the paper materials and processes the scoring of the OELPA. ELPA21 is the assessment development vendor.
     

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Practice Test

    What is the OELPA practice test?

    The OELPA practice test is a short version of the OELPA. The OELPA practice test presents the functions and tools of the OELPA. The OELPA practice test is posted on the test portal at the Student Practice Site. The practice test is online only. The practice test is not intended as a content test. Students do not "pass" the practice test.

    The Department recommends giving students as much time for practice as necessary to allow the students to become familiar with the technology skills and functions, and the type of questions the students will experience on the operational OELPA. Some students may need more time or multiple opportunities to practice. In addition, the practice test allows the districts or schools to check the devices that students will use for the operational test.

    The practice test is formatted in four separate tests as is the OELPA. The students will log in and log off for each test, which mirrors the OELPA.
     

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Test Security

    What test security should be followed for the OELPA?

    The OELPA’s four domain tests (listening, reading, writing and speaking) are secure state tests and must follow test security as established in Ohio law and rules. For test security areas, please refer to Ohio’s State Tests Rules Book.
     

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Scoring and Reporting

    How is the OELPA scored?

    For the OELPA online tests, machine-scored student responses are scored immediately when the tests are submitted. The online student constructed responses (written and spoken responses) are hand scored by the Department’s vendor, Measurement Incorporated.

    For the OELPA paper test, test administrators must enter the student responses to all machine-scored items into the Data Entry Interface (DEI) for scoring. Entering machine-scored student responses into the DEI is a manual process that will need to be completed by the test administrator either at the time of testing or soon after testing is completed but before the testing window closes.

    Please note that the OELPA paper tests must be returned to the vendor for hand scoring of constructed-response items once testing is complete. 
     

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    When are OELPA scores and results available?

    The scores are scheduled to be reported no later than 45 days from the last day of the test administration window. Based on the current test window, the results are reported electronically in May. The test dates are posted on the Department webpage.
     

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    Are printed score reports available?

    Yes. There is a printed, color OELPA Family Report which is sent to districts. Districts may print Individual Student Reports from the Online Reporting System (ORS). The Family Reports are sent to districts and schools a few weeks following the electronic reporting of results, usually the first or second week of June. It is the district or school’s responsibility to ensure families receive and understand the OELPA results for their child.

    Translated OELPA Family Reports are posted on the OELPA webpage. To notify English learner parents about their students’ achievements on the OELPA, districts may download the translations to accompany the students’ Family Report in English.
     

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    Can districts manipulate data in the ORS to create their own reports?
    Yes. Districts can configure data to meet their reporting needs. For example, results can be sorted by building or teacher. For more information, refer to the Online Reporting System Quick Guide.

     

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Technology

    Will the same online system be used for the OELPA as Ohio’s State Tests?

    Yes. The Department provides the same online system for the OELPS, the OELPA and Ohio’s State Tests.
     

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    Is there specific information on the secure browser for OELPA?

    Yes. Please review the Online System Requirements on the test portal.
     

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    Do students need a listening device (e.g., earbuds or headphones)?

    Yes. Students will need a listening device as there are audio portions of the listening, reading, writing and speaking tests.

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    Do students need a microphone?

    Yes. Students will need a microphone for the speaking test as there are recorded portions. The students will record their oral responses. Districts and schools can check functionality of their microphones by completing the practice test on the TA Practice Site or the Student Practice Site on the test portal.
     

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    Are there specific functions or characteristics required for the devices?

    Yes. A checklist with information on headsets is available, though use of other headsets is possible. Districts or schools may choose a headset, headphones or earbuds for the students to use. For example, earbuds may be used for the listening, reading and writing tests since students will not record oral responses for those tests. Districts or schools should use the checklist to determine if the headsets, headphones or earbuds they already have will operate on the system.
     

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Professional Development

    On which standards is the OELPA based?

    The OELPA is based on the Ohio English Language Proficiency Standards available on the Department’s website.
     

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    What resources are available in support of the Ohio ELP Standards?

    In developing lesson plans and determining English learners’ progress, teachers may refer to the Ohio Instructional Guidelines and Resources for English Language Learners that exemplify providing access to content so English learners can show what they know and can do. The guide serves as a resource for teachers to inform instruction and support English learners in their development of English language communication skills needed for success in school.
     

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    What materials are available to assist districts administering the OELPA?

    Six Professional Development Modules developed by the ELPA21 states on the English Language Proficiency Standards are available.

    Tutorials on local scoring for the speaking test and on the Data Entry Interface (DEI) are available on the OELPA Resources page on the test portal.

    A webinar on the Test Delivery System for Online Testing also is available on the OELPA Resources page on the test portal.

    Districts that wish to host a presentation using Skype may contact the Office of Assessment at 614-466-1317.
     

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    How can educators help English learners prepare for the OELPA?
    The Ohio English Language Proficiency Standards should be a regular part of teachers’ lesson planning. Teachers should ensure that English learners are familiar with the types of tasks that are found on the OELPA. Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) are available for each domain and correspond to each of the performance levels. Educators may use the ALDs to differentiate instruction and interventions to meet the individual needs of English learners. The ALDs describe what an English learner can do in relation to skills measured by and demonstrated on the OELPA. The ALDs can be found on the OELPA Resources page on the test portal.
     

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Standards

Last Modified: 2/26/2020 7:56:55 AM