Educators participate in development of state tests

When English language arts and mathematics teachers received an invitation from the Ohio Department of Education this summer to apply to participate on content advisory committees for Ohio’s state tests – more than 1,400 responded. The strong response indicates that Ohio educators know that state tests are important – they provide them with feedback about how students perform and can help affirm or guide their future teaching strategies. 

What do content review committees do?

The 320 educators selected for the content review committees have helped select questions for a total of 18 tests in English language arts and mathematics. Those selected for committees have solid experience in education and expertise with Ohio’s Learning Standards in their content area. Committee members from urban, rural and suburban areas throughout the state represent various grade levels and types of schools (public, nonpublic, career-technical and community). 

How do committees review test items?

Each content advisory participant serves with about 15 colleagues on a committee focusing on tests in one subject for a specific grade level. The committees’ first charge has been to review questions for this year’s tests from a bank of test items field tested in other states by the American Institute of Research (AIR). In addition, the committee will review newly developed items for field testing on Ohio’s spring tests that ultimately could be selected for future year’s state assessments. To ensure that each item is a valid and appropriate measure, committee members ask questions in three areas: 

  • Does the item measure some aspect of the content standards (as expressed in the standard’s content statement, expectations or elaborations)? 
  • Is the item content and language suitable for the subject area and grade level based on the content standards? 
  • Is the item accurate?

Following the review of potential test items, the department and AIR will build online and paper tests. Another group of educators serving on standard-setting committees for each test will make recommendations to the State Board of Education that will define the cut scores for five performance levels for this year’s student tests results. 

What is standard-setting?

More than 100 Ohio teachers and content experts helped make judgments about performance levels for this year’s tests. These Ohio educators also had a role in defining how student test performance translates to college and career readiness, or to being on track. 

The committees received training on how to set Ohio’s five performance levels – Advanced, Accelerated, Proficient, Limited and Basic. The process for setting levels determines the scores that students minimally must earn on the tests to achieve each performance level. The committees represented both public and private schools from around the state that use the tests. The State Board of Education reviewed the committee’s recommendations and approved this year’s performance levels. 

How are others participating in test development?

Test development is an extensive, ongoing process for ensuring that state tests are valid and appropriate measures of student knowledge and skills. 

  • Find out more here how Ohio educators also can get involved with other aspects of English language arts and mathematics test development.  

Last Modified: 12/21/2016 2:42:14 PM