The Ohio Department of Education created assessment development committees to review test questions and to help set scoring parameters. Ohio stakeholders serve on these committees. To allow as many stakeholders as possible an opportunity to serve, the Department will periodically rotate current members off the committee so that new members can join. This page presents information on test development, assessment committees and how to get involved with developing state tests.
Content advisory committees
Content advisory committees review and evaluate test questions and related test materials to ensure that each question is a valid and appropriate measure of the Ohio Learning Standards for that particular subject area and grade level. These committees review all test questions to advise the Department on whether each question is aligned with Ohio’s Learning Standards, contains appropriate grade-level content, has the appropriate level of difficulty for the grade level, has correct and accurate content and is clearly written.
These committees are specific to a given test (e.g., Grade 5 Ohio’s State Test in Mathematics or American Government End-of-Course Test). Ohio educators who serve as the committee members represent the diversity of Ohio’s schools and districts and are public, nonpublic, career-technical, urban, suburban and rural. Some educators work in higher education or serve in districts as curriculum specialists or administrators, but most members on each committee are classroom teachers with varied years of teaching experience in the appropriate grade levels and areas of study. These committees meet on an ongoing basis to review new test questions as they are developed. The number and frequency of meetings depends on the volume of new test item development, but typically these committees meet once or twice annually, for two or three days per meeting.
Range-finding/ Rubric Validation Committees
Range-finding committees are necessary whenever a test contains “open-ended” questions (i.e. questions that do not have multiple choices for responses). These committees establish the range, from no credit, to partial credit, to complete credit, of acceptable student responses. Range-finding committees make recommendations to the Department to ensure all constructed-response test questions are scored accurately, fairly and consistently.
Rubric validation committees review student responses from machine scored items administered during the online embedded field test. The review is conducted to ensure the machine is scoring the items accurately. The committee can make changes to the scoring rubric of an item for clarity, accuracy and reliability.
These committees are specific to a given test (e.g., Ohio’s State Test in Grade 5 Mathematics or American Government End-of-Course Test). Ohio educators who serve as the committee members represent the diversity of Ohio’s schools and districts: public, nonpublic, career technical, urban, suburban, and rural. Some educators work in higher education, or serve in school districts as curriculum specialists or administrators, but the majority of the members on each committee are classroom teachers with a varied years of teaching experience in the appropriate grade levels and areas of study. These committees meet on an ongoing basis to review new test questions as they are being field-tested. The number and frequency of meetings depends on the volume of field-testing, but typically these committees meet once or twice annually, for three or four days per meeting.
Fairness and Sensitivity Committees
Fairness and sensitivity committees review and evaluate test questions and related test materials to ensure that test questions are fair and unbiased for all groups of Ohio students. The primary purpose of these committees, set by Ohio law [Ohio Revised Code 3301.079 (H)], is to ensure that test questions do not promote or inquire about individual moral, social values or beliefs. In addition, these committees ensure that questions do not disadvantage groups of students because of their race, ethnicity, gender or disability. These committees also ensure that diverse cultures are represented in assessments and that material used neither offends nor stereotypes any student group.
There are three fairness and sensitivity committees: one each for grades 3-5, grades 6-8 and high school. Educators, parents and community members who represent the racial, ethnic, gender and cultural diversity of Ohio serve on fairness and sensitivity committees. Committee membership reflects areas of interest or experience such as bilingual or multicultural education, ethnic studies and education of students with special needs. These committees meet on an ongoing basis to review new test questions as they are developed. The number and frequency of meetings depends on the volume of new development, but typically these committees meet two or three times annually, for three or four days per meeting.
Standard Setting Committees
Standard-setting committees recommend the performance for a given test (e.g., Grade 5 Math Ohio State Test or American Government End of Course Test). The performance standards set the scores for the five performance levels of test results: limited, basic, proficient, accelerated and advanced achievement. Before reporting student scores for the first time, these committees review the test, discuss what the different levels of performance mean in terms of the test and review data on student performance. Ultimately, these committees make a recommendation to the State Board of Education to set the performance standards (or points earned on the test) that represent limited, basic, proficient, accelerated and advanced achievement.
These committees are specific to a given test (e.g., Ohio’s State Test in Grade 5 Mathematics or American Government End-of-Course Test). Classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, administrators, parents, business representatives and community leaders serve on the committees. Unlike the other three types of assessment committees, these committees meet only once when a test is first administered.
Alignment Study Committees
The purpose of each alignment study is to verify the alignment of the assessment items to the Ohio Learning Standards for content and difficulty. Alignment studies are part of the Peer Review process that provide additional evidence for the validity of the state assessments to the United States Department of Education (USDOE). Content expert stakeholders from across the state will meet in panels to make judgments about the alignment of test questions to the content and rigor of Ohio’s Learning Standards in English language arts and mathematics grades 3 through high school and science grades 5, 8 and high school Biology. The data will be compiled by an outside contractor and submitted as part of the federal peer review process for Ohio’s state assessment system.
The ODE alignment study meetings are a unique opportunity for educators to engage professionally with their peers from across the state. Participants will leave the meetings with a better understanding of how assessment items are aligned to the content, skills, and difficulty of Ohio’s Learning Standards, and of the expectations for student performance on Ohio’s English language arts, mathematics, and science assessments. Like the Standard Setting Committees, Alignment Studies Committees will only meet once for a two-day meeting in July 2017.
Performance Standards Confirmation Committees
The State Board of Education adopts performance standards for Ohio’s State Tests that are used to determine whether a student meets the proficiency level. The Board has directed the Ohio Department of Education to conduct a confirmation process to review where the performance levels are set for the English language arts and mathematics tests. Note that this process will examine performance levels, such as Proficient, rather than Ohio’s content learning standards. As part of the review process, the Department is seeking input from both educators and parents around the current settings and meaning of performance standards for Ohio’s students as they progress in school and as they prepare for life beyond high school.
These interactive, virtual discussions with parents will take place on October 27, 2020, for elementary committees, October 28, 2020, for middle school committees, and October 29, 2020, for high school committees. All meetings will be from 10:00-11:30 a.m. We are looking for parents to participate in one of six groups: English language arts for elementary, middle, and high school and mathematics for elementary, middle, and high school. Participants should have online access for viewing the meeting information virtually, but video capability is not required. Information from this discussion will be shared with educator committees as they take a technical look at how the performance levels were originally set. Finally, the State Board will receive a report on the feedback from parents and the outcomes of the educator review committees as board members evaluate whether the performance levels are accurately determining whether a student is proficient in English language arts and math.
These committees will consist of Ohio stakeholders from across the state who have expertise and considerable knowledge of the learning standards in the content and grade levels for which they apply. These committees will meet only one time, all-day on both November 17 and 18, 2020. Their purpose is to confirm that the performance levels (“cut scores”) for each test were set appropriately or determine that they need to be revisited. Training will be provided for all committee members who will use internet-based tools to review range performance level descriptors (PLDs), develop threshold PLDs, review ordered item books, and evaluate the performance standards. Each grade and subject area committee will operate independently of the other committees. For all eligible participants, costs for substitute teachers will be reimbursed directly to school districts. Nondisclosure agreements will be signed and submitted at the meeting in order to maintain test security.
Test Development Information
Get Involved in Developing State Tests
If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else for membership on an assessment committee, please click here to complete the nomination form and submit it online.
Last Modified: 1/4/2021 9:11:31 AM