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.

 

Consequences of Student Nonparticipation in OELPA

2022 OELPA ADMINISTRATION DURING THE PANDEMIC

General Questions

OELPA Format and Test Design

Accommodations

Manuals

Test Administration

Practice Test

Test Security

Scoring and Reporting

Technology

Professional Development


Consequences of Student Nonparticipation in OELPA

    What are the consequences of not taking the OELPA?
    The Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) is critical to the services schools must provide English learners. In fact, federal and state education laws require all public school districts and community schools to administer a statewide assessment of English language proficiency annually to all students identified as English learners. If a student does not take the OELPA, there may be consequences for the student, the student’s teachers, and the student’s school and district. The consequences of student nonparticipation in the OELPA are described below.
     

    Back to Top


    What are the consequences for students who do not take the OELPA?
    Students who do not take the OELPA will maintain English learner status if enrolled in school the following year. To exit English learner status, students must satisfy Ohio’s standardized English learner exit criteria by earning a proficient score on the OELPA.
    English learners in grades 9-12 who are pursuing the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy will have fewer opportunities to assert their English proficiency on a high school administration of the OELPA if they do not take the assessment. Proficient scores on a high school administration of the OELPA satisfy the English requirement toward the attainment of the Seal of Biliteracy.

     

    Back to Top


    What are the consequences for teachers when students do not take the OELPA?
    When students do not participate in the OELPA, teachers will have limited information, such as student growth projections, to help inform instruction. Additionally, local teacher evaluations that rely on results from the OELPA may be affected by students do not take or complete the assessment.

     

    Back to Top


    What are the consequences for districts when students do not take the OELPA?
    Students who do not take the OELPA will continue as English learners the following school year, so a district’s English learner enrollment may be affected when students do not take the OELPA. Student nonparticipation also can affect a school and district’s school report card.

     

    Back to Top


2022 OELPA ADMINISTRATION DURING THE PANDEMIC

General Questions

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

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

    Back to Top


    How was the OELPA developed?

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

    Back to Top


    Who takes the OELPA?

    Districts are required to administer the OELPA annually to all students identified as English learners. 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.
     

    Back to Top


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

    Back to Top


    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.
     

    Back to Top


OELPA Format and Test Design

    What are the grade bands?

    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.
     

    Back to Top


    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.
     

    Back to Top


    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 for the student. The paper test is intended as an accommodation and requires pre-approval from the Department. The paper test includes all four domain tests: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

     

    Back to Top


    Which situations allow schools to administer 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 initial paper test order window in the fall. Districts can order additional paper tests during the additional paper test order window, which coincides largely with the OELPA test window each year. See Important Dates on the OELPA portal for more information.


     

    Back to Top


    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 is eligible for paper tests.


     

    Back to Top


    In addition to the paper test, what special versions of the OELPA are available?
    Large print and Braille test booklets are available and are ordered through TIDE. Please go to the TIDE User Guide for a description of TIDE.

    Back to Top


    If approved for paper test administration, what materials are required for the OELPA paper test?
    A paper test, including administration manuals, is available for grades K-12 for students who cannot test online. PreID labels are required for the paper tests. Preprinted preID labels are included with the initial paper test order but are not included with any additional paper test orders. Districts must order the print-on-demand label forms when submitting their additional paper test order.

     

    Back to Top


    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.
     

    Back to Top


Accommodations

    Are translations available for the OELPA?

    The OELPA test directions are available in Arabic, Somali, and Spanish translations on the OELPA portal. Test questions and student responses must be in English as this is a test to determine the level of English proficiency.

    Back to Top


    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.

     

    Back to Top


    What is domain exemption?
    Domain exemption is for individual student situations that preclude engagement with any of the four language domains (listening, reading, writing and speaking). Districts may exempt students from a domain test if the student’s disability prohibits the student from participating in the stated domain.

    Districts will register students exempted from any domain tests in TIDE in advance of the test window and will indicate the exemptions under test settings and tools in TIDE. Districts must mark domain exemption(s) 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 in the TA (test administrator) Interface 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 in TIDE to invalidate the domain tests from which the student should have been exempted.

    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, however, still is 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.
     

    Back to Top


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 sent with the paper test materials.

    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. Test Administrator 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 for Paper Tests. The Data Entry Interface User Guide supports users of the Data Entry Interface (DEI) to enter student responses for the K-12 paper tests;

    Local Scoring Tutorial for Speaking. This tutorial provides information and training for TAs that are completing the local scoring;

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

    OELPA Understanding Results Manual Explains the data used to create the results; and

    Centralized Reporting System User Guide. This user guide gives instructions on using the Reporting System for the following: Accessing summative assessment data for the OELPA and non-summative assessment data for the OELPS.

    Back to Top


Test Administration

    Must the OELPA be administered in person?
    Yes. There is no remote administration for the OELPA.
     

    Back to Top


    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. Important dates also are posted to the OELPA portal.
     

    Back to Top


    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.
     

    Back to Top


    How must districts and schools 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.
     

    Back to Top


    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.

     

    Back to Top


    Can districts administer the OELPA to a group of students?
    The listening, speaking, reading and writing tests may be given to students individually or in a group administration. When scheduling administrations, districts should consider that students taking the speaking test will speak their responses aloud. To maintain test validity and security, the speaking test must be administered so that students cannot hear one another and that recordings do not pick up others’ voices. Thus, districts should test students in large quiet spaces and/or in groups as small as the test window and scheduling allow. Districts administering the speaking test to groups of students could provide students headsets with headphones and microphone to ensure the recordings are audible and clear. If possible, the Department recommends that schools administer the speaking test one-to-one, with one student and one test administrator. 



     

    Back to Top


    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.
     

    Back to Top


    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.
     

    Back to Top


    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.

    The test administrator must not be
    • Substitute teachers not employed by the district;
    • A student teacher;
    • A student.

    Back to Top


    What assistance may the test administrator give to the student?
    Students who cannot effectively navigate the online OELPA on their own because they are without the necessary skills or experience may have a trained test administrator assist with test navigation. For example, the test administrator may assist with the mouse, point-and-click, drag-and-drop and on-screen tools. The test administrator may assist only with the technology as indicated by the student and must not assist with answer selection. Influencing a student’s answer selection or response is a test security violation and will invalidate the assessment.

    On writing items where the student is to compose a written response, only students with a scribe documented on the IEP or 504 plan may have the test administrator type their handwritten responses into the online test. For students who are incapable of typing their own responses, see the “Scribe” non-embedded accommodations in the Accessibility Manual for Ohio’s English Langue Proficiency Assessments.
     

    Back to Top


    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.
     

    Back to Top


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 an online test with options to print items on-request. 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. A new feature is the print-on-request of items on the practice test. Students may submit print requests to the test administrators and teachers may print individual items to meet the needs of their students.
     

    Back to Top


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 the test security section in the OELPA Test Coordinator Manual.
     

    Back to Top


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. 
     

    Back to Top


    May English learners who have previously scored proficient on one or more OELPA domain tests be exempted from having to take those domain tests again this year? For example, a student who scored proficient on the 2021 OELPA speaking test would not have to take the 2022 OELPA speaking test.

    No. “Banking” scores or using superscores is not allowed for the OELPA. Federal guidance explicitly states that the annual assessment of English language proficiency must assess all four language domains (reading, writing, listening and speaking).

    Additionally, the OELPA and OELPS are scored using a multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) model in which every test item contributes to all four domains, with the greatest weight given to items in that domain.

    An English learner’s scores often fluctuate from year to year. Administering all the domain tests (unless exempted in the IEP or 504 plan) ensures the most valid and reliable assessment of English language proficiency.

    Back to Top


    When are OELPA scores and results available?

    The scores are scheduled to be reported in the Centralized Reporting System 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 OELPA Portal.
     

    Back to Top


    Are rescores and verifications available for the OELPA?
    Yes. The OELPA has two new features available for the 2022 spring test administration scoring and reporting: rescores and verifications. The window to request rescores and verifications is May 16 – June 27, 2022

    A district can submit a rescore request in TIDE if it believes a student’s score does not reflect expected student proficiency. There is a $25 charge for processing rescore requests unless the rescore results in a score change.
     
    A district can submit a verification request if the following applies:
    • The district believes the student tested and did not receive a score, or
    • The district believes a score was incorrectly assigned to a student who took a paper test.

    Back to Top


    Are printed score reports available?

    Yes. There is a printed, color OELPA Family Report which is sent to districts. Districts also may print Individual Student Reports from the Centralized Reporting System (CRS). 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.

    Back to Top


    Can districts manipulate data in the Centralized Reporting System (CRS) 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 Centralized Reporting System Resources on the OELPA portal.


     

    Back to Top


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.
     

    Back to Top


    Is there specific information on the secure browser for OELPA?

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

    Back to Top


    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.

    Back to Top


    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 test portal.
     

    Back to Top


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.
     

    Back to Top


    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.

    Teachers also may refer to the OELPA Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) which describe the skills and processes that students demonstrate in language development at each tested grade band.
     

    Back to Top


    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 virtual training session may contact the Office of Assessment at 614-466-1317.
     

    Back to Top


    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.

     

    Back to Top


Last Modified: 8/19/2022 1:22:58 PM