Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS) FAQ

These are answers to the most frequently asked questions received by the Ohio Department of Education regarding the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS).

Note: Throughout the frequently asked questions, the term “districts” refers to public school districts and community schools.
 

English Learner Identification

General Questions

OELPS Format

Student Participation

Administration

Accessibility and Accommodations

Test Blueprint

Test Security

Scoring and Reporting

Professional Development


English Learner Identification

    What is the identification process for English learners?

    Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), Ohio developed standardized procedures to identify and exit English learners. These procedures are applicable in all public-school districts and community schools and any schools receiving federal funding from the U.S. government. Ohio has a two-step process for identifying English learners consisting of the Language Usage Survey and the OELPS. Refer to the Guidelines for Identifying English Learners on the Department website for more information.

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General Questions

    What is the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS)?
    The OELPS is a diagnostic assessment of English language proficiency designed to identify students as English learners in grades K-12. It measures a student’s English skills in four language domains: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The OELPS is the second step in Ohio’s standardized English learner identification; the first step is the Language Usage Survey. The OELPS is aligned to Ohio’s English Language Proficiency Standards and is the only approved assessment by which public districts and community schools identify English learners in Ohio.

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    Which schools must administer the OELPS?
    Public-school districts and community schools administer the OELPS as part of Ohio’s standardized English learner identification.

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    May chartered nonpublic schools administer the OELPS?
    Chartered nonpublic schools may administer the OELPS.

    Whether a chartered nonpublic school administers the OELPS may depend on its participation in Ohio’s Title III Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Children and Youth Subgrants program. Chartered nonpublic schools participating in the Title III program should consult with their Title III public district to determine whether the OELPS will be administered to identify English learners. Chartered nonpublic schools not participating in the Title III grant program still have the option to administer the OELPS.  

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    Are potential English learners who enroll in a chartered nonpublic school and receive a scholarship required to be administered the OELPS?
    Students who attend a chartered nonpublic school and receive a scholarship (Ed Choice, Jon Peterson or Cleveland) are not required to be screened using the OELPS, unless the school is participating in the federal Title III program and school officials have agreed to use the OELPS as the English learner screener.

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    Is the OELPS an approved option for a diagnostic assessment in grades K-3?
    No, the OELPS and the diagnostic assessments serve different purposes. The OELPS may not be substituted for the diagnostic assessment. More information about Diagnostic Assessments is available on the Department website.

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OELPS Format

    What is the design and format of the OELPS?
    The OELPS is a state-adaptive, online test consisting of three stages or steps: Step One, Step Two and Step Three. Each step is linguistically more complex than the previous. The test may end after any step depending on the student’s engagement with the test and/or the student’s responses.   
    • Step One. All students taking the OELPS are administered Step One, which is the practice test and is not scored. Students become familiar with the look and feel of the test and the Student Interface during this step. At the end of Step One, the test administrator answers questions about the student’s participation with the test that determine whether the student will continue to Step Two.
    • Step Two. Step Two presents the student with a series of mixed domain items, all of which are scored and are secure test content. Step Two begins with four speaking items, which are scored during the test session by the test administrator. After the speaking items, students are presented with the listening, reading and writing items. Most students will stop at the end of Step Two.
    • Step Three. A relatively small number of students who obtain a high score in Step Two will move on to Step Three. Step Three presents students with a series of mixed domain items, all of which are scored and are secure test content. Speaking and writing items in Step Three, which require the student to speak or construct a written response, will be sent to the Teacher Assessment Scoring Center (TASC) when the student submits the test. These speaking and writing items are scored by the school staff after the student submits the test and logs out.

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    What is the OELPS-BK and OELPS-K?
    OELPS-BK. The OELPS-BK is the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener for the Beginning of Kindergarten and is the screener administered to students before Dec. 31 of the kindergarten year. Students taking the OELPS-BK will be proficient (not an English learner) if they earn scores of 3 or higher in all nonexempt domains.

    OELPS-K. The OELPS-K is the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener administered to kindergarteners after Jan. 1 of the kindergarten year. Students taking the OELPS-K will be proficient (not an English learner) if they earn scores of 4 or higher in all non-exempt domains of the screener.

    When administering the OELPS to a kindergartner, the time of year determines whether the OELPS-BK or OELPS-K will be available when the test administrator logs in to set up the test session for the student.

    See the OELPS Test Coordinator Manual for additional information.

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    Are paper forms of the OELPS available if students and schools require them?
    Yes. Paper-pencil, large-print, and braille tests are available with Ohio Department of Education (Department) approval for students and schools unable to test online. Schools needing paper tests must contact the Department at statetests@education.ohio.gov to determine eligibility for an exception to online testing. Once approved, the Office of Assessment places orders with its vendor for the paper tests.

    The following are situations when schools may be eligible for paper test(s):
    • Students require the paper test as an accommodation documented in an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or 504 plan; or
    • A student’s religious or cultural beliefs; or
    • A district 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.
    Districts may not order multiple copies of the paper test to store until a student enrolls.

    The vendor includes in the order a general education-size test booklet with the large-print booklet and braille test booklet to record each student’s responses. Student responses for the paper-pencil, large-print and braille versions are to be entered in the Data Entry Interface (DEI) on the test portal.      

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Student Participation

    Which students are administered the OELPS?

    Districts administer the OELPS to potential English learners who are newly enrolled in grades K-12 based on the family’s responses to the Language Usage Survey which indicate a significant influence of a language other than English. Districts must not administer the OELPS to preschool students as the OELPS was designed only for students enrolled in grades K-12.

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    Are foreign exchange students subject to Ohio’s standardized English learner identification?
    Districts consider foreign exchange students for the two-step identification process like any other student new to the district. Foreign exchange students have access to appropriate English learner accommodations only when identified as English learners. Foreign exchange students identified as English learners are required to take the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) and any other state tests administered for the student’s grade level.

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    Is the OELPS administered to students who were screened and identified as English learners in preschool?
    Based on the results of the Language Usage Survey, the OELPS is required to identify students as English learners upon enrolling in kindergarten, regardless of any identification made during preschool.

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    Should the OELPS be administered before the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Revised (KRA-R) is administered?
    Yes. English learners taking the KRA-R are eligible for additional supports, including translation and interpretation of some items. Refer to the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Administrators webpage for information on the allowable supports for English learners and contact KRAHelp@education.ohio.gov with questions.

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    What are the consequences of students not taking the OELPS?
    The OELPS is critical to the services districts must provide their English learners. Once students are identified as potential English learners based on information from the Language Usage Survey, they must be assessed with the OELPS to determine if they are English learners. Students who are not administered the OELPS cannot be identified and reported as English learners. If students do not take the OELPS and are not identified as English learners, the students might not receive the English language services and accommodations to which they are entitled. Districts that do not administer the OELPS may be in violation of student’s civil rights and subject to state and/or federal investigation.

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    If a student who was an English learner transfers from a different Ohio district or another state, must the district administer the OELPS?

    Ohio districts and schools are responsible for the timely and accurate identification of all English learners enrolled in their school(s), regardless of students’ prior enrollment.

    When an Ohio district receives a student from a different Ohio district or from a school in another state, the new district begins by reviewing existing student records, looking for a completed Language Usage Survey (or comparable document if transferring from another state) and prior English language proficiency assessment results. When student records are unavailable or incomplete, the receiving Ohio district or school should follow Ohio’s Guidelines for Identifying English Learners to complete the identification.

    The OELPS is not administered if the student:

    • Transfers from a different Ohio school and student records indicate the student was administered the OELPS and identified as an English learner but has not yet achieved English proficiency; or
    • Transfers from an ELPA21 state (Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oregon or West Virginia) and student records indicate the student was identified as an English learner with the ELPA21 Screener but has not yet achieved English proficiency.
    • Transfers from a different Ohio school or an out-of-state school and student records indicate the student met Ohio’s or the previous state’s English learner exit criteria.
    Note: In the first two examples above, the transfer student would keep their English learner status at their new school.

    Note: The new district or school may decide to administer the OELPS or a different English language proficiency screener to transfer students already identified as English learners to inform English language program placement and services, but not for identification purposes.

    The OELPS is administered if a student:
    • Transfers from a different Ohio school and student records do not include documentation of English learner identification; or
    • Transfers from a non-ELPA21 state and has been identified as an English learner but has not yet achieved English proficiency.

    Former English Learners. A student transferring from another Ohio school or an out-of-state school who met Ohio’s or the previous state’s English learner exit criteria is not an English learner. The student is not screened with the OELPS and does not take the OELPA. Districts must monitor former English learners for persistent language barriers for a minimum of two years after exiting English learner status, regardless of the student’s enrollment when the student exited English learner status.

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    What should happen if a transferring student’s records are incomplete or not available from the previous school?
    The district should make every attempt to obtain documentation about the student’s English learner status from the student’s previous school, be it another Ohio district or a school in another state. If the student transfers from a school in Ohio, districts may check the Centralized Reporting System (CRS) for a student’s prior OELPS and OELPA scores. Districts may check Ohio District Data Exchange (ODDEX) to search for a student’s prior OELPA scores. As a last resort, the district may contact statetests@education.ohio.gov with the student’s SSID or Student ID. If documentation regarding the student’s English learner status is unavailable, the district would follow Ohio’s English learner identification procedure.

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    Under what circumstances may a school readminister the OELPS to students?

    A district may re-administer the OELPS to a student under limited circumstances:

    • The student returns to the school after an extended absence (a year or more);
    • The student exits from the English learner program and educators and/or the family notice the student may have persistent language barriers;
    • If the school administers the student the OELPS and the student is a nonparticipant, the school could readminister the OELPS during the federal 30-day identification period when the school believes the student could participate in the OELPS.
    Contact the Department to discuss situations other than those described above at statetests@education.ohio.gov.

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Administration

Accessibility and Accommodations

    Are assessment accommodations available for students taking the OELPS?
    Yes, the Accessibility Manual for Ohio's English Language Proficiency Assessments describes the assessment accommodations available to students taking the OELPS and the OELPA.

    Note: For students participating in Ohio’s State Tests of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, test administrators should refer to Ohio’s Accessibility Manual for information about accessibility features and accommodations for students identified as English learners.
     

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Test Blueprint

    How many items (test questions) are on the OELPS?
    The number of items a student will be presented in each step varies depending on the student’s grade level, their engagement with the test and/or the student’s responses. The table below explains the number of items in each step of the OELPS.
    OELPS Number of Items per Step
    Segment Domains Number of Items Scoring Information
    Step One Listening
    Reading
    Speaking
    Writing
    5-9 items Not scored. The items are intended as practice.
    Step Two Listening
    Reading
    Speaking
    Writing
    23-26 items All items are scored.
     
    Four speaking items are scored during the test session of the test by the test administrator.
    Step Three Listening
    Reading
    Speaking
    Writing
    18-23 items All items are scored.
     
    Kindergarten and Grade 1. Speaking items on the K and Grade 1 OELPS are hand-scored by school staff in the Teacher Assessment Scoring System (TASC) after the student submits their test and logs out of the system.
     
    Grades 2-12. Spoken and written responses on the Grade 2-12 OELPS are hand-scored by the local school staff in the Teacher Assessment Scoring System (TASC) after the student submits their test and logs out of the system.

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Test Security

Scoring and Reporting

    How is it possible for a student to be below level 4 in speaking if they got a perfect score on the speaking questions?
    The OELPS uses a multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) model in which all items contribute to the scores for each domain. The items are weighted so that the items in that domain carry the most weight toward the score for that domain. For example, speaking items affect the speaking score most, but the speaking score also relies on the responses to items in the other domains.

    Students perform relatively well on the speaking items, so students often earn 7 or 8 raw score points out of 8 even if they perform poorly on the other domain items.

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    How do schools score the spoken and written responses from Step Three of the OELPS?
    The Teacher Hand scoring System (THSS) has been deactivated and is no longer available. The Teacher Assessment Scoring Center (TASC) has replaced the THSS. The TASC is the system through which authorized district and school staff will enter and submit scores for students’ spoken and written responses from Step Three of the OELPS. The TASC User Guide provides step-by-step instructions. The OELPS and TASC Webinar provides demonstrates how to use the TASC.

    The TASC is an upgraded system to the previously used THSS. The TASC has an improved user interface, is integrated with the Centralized Reporting System (CRS) and eliminates the burden of managing scorer assignments as any local school staff with an authorized user account may score the responses.

    The CRS will not report results until the constructed responses from Step Three are scored in the Teacher Assessment Scoring System (TASC).

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    What user roles may access the Teacher Assessment Scoring System (TASC)?
    To access the TASC, users must have the District Test Coordinator (DTC), District Administrator (DA) Building Test Coordinator (BTC) or Teacher (TE) role. School staff with the Test Administrator (TA) user account do not have access to the TASC.

    The Online User Role Matrix provides a detailed overview of each role’s access to Ohio’s assessment systems. District Test Coordinators may add or modify a user’s role by following the instruction in the TIDE User Guide.  

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Professional Development

Last Modified: 8/24/2022 3:37:30 PM