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 April 2018

General Questions

OELPA Format

Test Blueprint

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 domains/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. (Public school includes traditional and community schools.) 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.
    Foreign-exchange students may be screened for English language proficiency to determine whether the students qualify for the district’s English language program especially if the students are struggling in their classes due to limited English proficiency. If the results of the initial English language assessment indicate that students do in fact have limited English proficiency to the extent in which they are not able to participate effectively in the mainstream classes, then the district identifies the students as English learners and provides appropriate English language support. Only as identified English learners do the foreign-exchange students have access to English learner appropriate accommodations on Ohio’s State Tests. The decision to assess and identify foreign-exchange students as English learners should be made for the best interest of the students, and not based merely on accountability consequences. Foreign-exchange students identified as English learners are required to take the OELPA.
     

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    What is the difference between a limited English proficient (LEP) student and an English learner (EL)?
    The term LEP student has been replaced by the term English learner as defined in 20 U.S. C. 7801 paragraph 20.
     

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    Is a screener associated with the OELPA?
    Yes, a Screener has been developed as part of the ELPA21 system. It is scheduled to be available in Ohio on August 1, 2018. The administration window is open ended. Districts may administer the Screener at any time. Districts are not required to start screening on August 1, 2018. The Screener will be required for districts to administer at no cost to the district.
    The Screener will be online; however, there will be a paper format for those students who are unable to use the online format. The same approval process for paper tests is required for the paper Screener. Please see FAQ questions about paper tests.
    The Screener will be locally scored which means the districts will score the constructed-response items. All other items will be scored by machine immediately after the response has been submitted. The scores will be merged for the final score. The local scoring will ensure timely identification of English learners.
    Training for local scoring will be provided by the Department and is scheduled for May and July.
     

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OELPA Format

    What are the grade bands for the OELPA?

    The grade bands are K; 1; 2-3; 4-5; 6-8; and 9-12. The test grade bands reflect the Ohio English Language Proficiency Standards developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

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    What is the format of the OELPA?

    The OELPA format is intended as an online test for all English learners. There is a paper format for special circumstances (see questions about paper tests.)
    The online test for the K-12 grade bands are delivered and completed online except for the grade bands K and 1 writing test. The grade bands K-1 writing tests have both an online component and a paper component. Both components must be administered or the student’s score will be significantly affected. The K-1 online and paper tests are to be administered on the same day. The paper component was developed for the grade bands K-1 writing tests to provide access to young children with limited experience with keyboards. There is no need to request approval for the grades K-1 writing supplemental paper tests as they are included with the online administration.
     

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    Do the K-1 online reading, listening and speaking tests have a paper supplement?
    No. The K-1 online reading, listening and speaking tests are delivered and completed online.
     

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    What is the paper format of the OELPA?
    The paper format is a paper/pencil version for K-12. There is no online component. The grades K-12 paper format is intended as an accommodation and requires approval (questions 10 and 11)). Unlike the grades K-1 online writing supplemental paper test, the grades K-12 paper/pencil test includes all four tests: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
     

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    Is pre-approval required to use the K-12 OELPA paper tests and the paper Screener?
    Yes. The Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment and Screener is an online test for students (with some exceptions). All districts and schools are expected to schedule time and provide technology appropriately for their local situations.
     

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    Which situations would allow the use of paper tests?
    The following are situations where districts and schools may be eligible for paper testing:
    1. A district or school with students who will require the use of paper test forms as an accommodation documented in an IEP or 504 plan, or due to a student’s religious beliefs; or
    2. A district or school that lacks the required technology infrastructure to test all students online, including schools that:
      1. are new to state testing and verify a lack of technology to test all students online; or
      2. experience a change in the district's or school's technology system that impacts capacity to test all students online.
    Districts or schools with the above situations involving the limitation of technology should contact the Ohio Department of Education at statetests@education.ohio.gov to start the process of determining eligibility for an exception to online testing.

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    Are there special versions of the OELPA?
    Large-print and Braille test booklets are available. The large print test booklet is ordered through TIDE. A general education size test booklet is sent with the large-print booklet to record the student’s responses. There is no need to order the general education size 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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    Are the K-2 grade band tests an observational test?
    No. Students in grades K-2 participate directly in the online testing, unless approval is granted for special circumstances.
     

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Test Blueprint

    What are the item types?

    Item types are intended to be similar for the online and paper tests. 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 here.
     

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    How many questions per grade band and test will be on the operational test?

    The test blueprint is shown at this link.

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    What are the specific tasks by grade band and test?

    The specific tasks are located at this link.

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    Which standards are assessed per test and grade band?

    The standards are located at this link.

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    What are the estimated test times?
    The test times are shown at this link.

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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 English learner 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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    Is there a time requirement for the use of English learner appropriate accommodations for the OELPA?
    There is no time requirement or limit for the use of English learner appropriate accommodations for the OELPA based on how long the English learner has been enrolled in a U.S. school.
     

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    What is the domain exemption?
    Domain exemptions are available for the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA). Districts will register participating 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 when the student logs in, the exempted test 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 if the test administrator approves the exempted test. If this situation occurs, the exempted test must be invalidated through TIDE.
    Districts may exempt students from no more than three of the four domains/tests on the OELPA if the student’s disability is such that the student cannot participate in the stated domain/test per the individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan with existing English learner appropriate 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. At least one domain/test must be administered for 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?
    • Test Coordinator Manual – covers policies and procedures for districts and schools that are administering the OELPA online and/or using paper – it is not secure and not required to be returned;
    • Test Administrator Manualfor 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 – includes the script that will be read aloud for all students for those students using the paper format – it is a secure document and must be returned with test materials – it is not posted on the web;
    • Data Entry Interface User Guide – supports users of the Data Entry Interface (DEI) to enter student responses for the K-12 paper tests (K-1 writing paper responses are not entered in the DEI);
    • OELPA Accessibility Manual – presents OELPA accessibility features; and
    • Understanding Results Manual – explains the data used to create the results; the 2017 version is posted and will be replaced with the 2018 version when results are posted.

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    When are the manuals available?
    All the manuals are currently posted on the portal except the Directions for Administration which is sent with the test booklets as it is a secure document and must be returned with the test materials.

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Test Administration

    What are the dates for the Spring 2019 administration?

    The online and paper test administration window is Feb. 4 – March 29, 2019. Make-up tests are included in the test window. All tests must be completed within the window. There is no extension of the test window for any reason due to the large test window.
     

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    What is the sequence of the OELPA administration?

    There is no fixed or required sequence. Districts may administer the four OELPA 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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    Do all four tests need to be administered in one day?

    No. The district may schedule one test per day within the test window.
     

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    Must the tests be scheduled on back-to-back days when all are given on one day?
    No. The tests may be scheduled with several days in between. It is the district’s choice for the test schedule.
     

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    May multiple tests be administered on the same day?
    Yes, although it is not recommended as multiple tests in one day may cause undue pressure for the student. However, if multiple tests are given in one day, test administrators are encouraged to allow students to take a break between tests to help prevent testing fatigue. The test administrator must also ensure that enough time is scheduled that all tests started are completed on the same day that the test began.
     

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    Must a test be given to one student at one time?
    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 response. Administering the test in four corners of a large room such as a gym is not permitted. This presents a security issue.
     

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    May the student start a test on one day and complete the test on another day?
    No. A student must 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. The district would require Department approval to resume the test on another day. Poor planning does not constitute extraordinary circumstances. For example, the student may not have enough time to complete the test if the test is started late in the afternoon.
     

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    Is it necessary to register the English learners who will take the OELPA?
    Yes. Each English learner must be registered or pre-identified in TIDE. Registration places the student in the system and allows the student access to the test. Registration also allows the test administrator to add accommodations when necessary.
     

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    Who administers the OELPA?

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

    • 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 provided here for districts or schools to schedule test time.
     

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    What paper materials are required for the OELPA?

    For the grade bands K-1 online writing test, a paper supplement is required, plus manuals. For students who cannot test online, a paper test is available for grades K-12 plus manuals. PreID labels are required for the paper tests.
     

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    Who is the vendor?

    American Institutes for Research (AIR) is the vendor that will provide the administration resources, scoring and reporting of the OELPA. 

    Measurement Incorporated (MI) is a subcontractor to AIR and will process the scoring of the OELPA.

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    How can a district order only related materials if additional tests are not needed?
    Districts should contact Measurement Incorporated at 866.762.1060 or related materials such as the Test Coordinator Manual, CD, etc. TIDE can only accept complete orders which includes tests and related materials.
     

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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 portal. The practice test is online only. The practice test is not intended as a content test. Students do not "pass" the practice test.
    It is recommended 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 to check the devices that will be used 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 four tests (listening, reading, writing and speaking) are secure state tests and must follow test security as established in Ohio law and rules. For all test security areas, please go to the Rules Book at this link.

     

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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 are hand scored by Measurement Incorporated.
    For the OELPA K-12 paper/pencil tests, test administrators must enter the student responses to all machine-scored items into the AIR 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 the test has been completed or soon after testing is completed but before the test window closes. The K-1 writing paper response are not entered in the DEI.
    Please note that the paper test booklets (including the K-1 online writing supplement and K-12 paper/pencil test booklets) must be returned to the vendor for hand scoring of constructed-response questions once testing is complete. 
     

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    When will the scores be reported?

    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.
     

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    Will there be printed score reports?

    Yes. There is a printed, color Family Report which is sent to the districts/schools. Districts/schools must assure that all communications to the family are understandable. Efforts to interpret and translate student results must be made and documented to the extent practicable. The Family Report is also a black and white PDF on the Online Scoring System (ORS) which may be printed. The Family Report is sent a few weeks following the electronic reporting of results, usually the first or second week of June. Translated versions of the Family Report are at this link.
     

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    Are districts/schools able to manipulate the data on the ORS to create their own reports?
    Yes.
     

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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 Screener, 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 at this link on the 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 embedded in the listening device or in the computer for the speaking test as there are recorded portions. The students will record their oral responses.
     

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    Are there specific functions or characteristics required for the devices?

    Yes. The vendor has offered a checklist with information on a headset located at this link on the portal; however, it is not a mandated headset. Districts and 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 and 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 that are located at this link.

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

    The Instructional Guidelines and Resources for English Language Learners is available at this link. The purpose of the Instructional Guide and Resources for Ohio English Language Learners is to serve as a resource to school district personnel in the use of the English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards to inform instruction and support ELs in their development of English language communication skills needed for success in school.
     

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    What materials and professional development are available to assist districts and schools with administering the OELPA?

    Modules developed by the ELPA states on the English Language Proficiency Standards are available on the ELPA21 web page at this link.

    Tutorials on local scoring for the speaking test and on the Data Entry Interface (DEI) are posted at this link.

    A webinar on the Test Delivery System for Online Testing is posted at this link.

    Districts who wish to host a presentation using Skype may contact the Office of Assessment 614.466.0217.

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    How can educators help English learners prepare for the OELPA?
    The English language proficiency standards should be part of teachers’ daily lesson planning. Teachers should ensure that English learners are familiar with the types of tasks that are found on the OELPA (see FAQ questions about tasks).
    Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) have been developed for each domain at each grade level that correspond to each of the performance levels. The ALDs are intended to be used by educators in personalizing 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 portal.
    In developing lesson plans, and determining English learners’ progress, teachers may refer to the Ohio Instructional Guidelines and Resources for English Language Learners (here) that provides examples of providing accessibility to content so English learners can show what they know and can do.
     

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    What services should the district or school offer after an English learner has achieved a score of “proficient” on the OELPA?
    A student who achieves an overall score of “proficient” on the OELPA is reclassified as a former English learner. Students who are former English learners are no longer eligible for accommodations specific to English learners. Districts monitor the progress of former English learners for two years following reclassification. The English learner program should assure that reclassified students have needed supports to participate in the district’s education program. In the Dear Colleague Letter (2015), the U.S. Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Education specify that in no case should re-testing of an exited student’s English language proficiency be prohibited. If the results of the re-testing qualify the student as an English learner, the district must re-enter the student into English learner status and offer English language services. If the student is re-entered in to English language services, districts should document the basis for the re-entry and the parents’ consent to such re-entry.
     

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Standards

Last Modified: 9/24/2018 1:21:41 PM