PROFICIENCY TESTING IN OHIO -- A SUMMARY
This report provides a chronology of the major milestones in implementing proficiency testing programs in Ohio.
POLICY -- STATUTORY/REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS
March 1987-- The State Board of Education adopted a resolution recommending that the General Assembly enact legislation to require students to pass proficiency tests in order to graduate from high school.
July 1987-- The 117th General Assembly enacted H.B. 231 requiring anyone graduating in 1994 or thereafter to pass ninth grade proficiency tests in reading, writing, mathematics, and citizenship. This legislation also provided for twelfth grade proficiency tests in the same four areas that students would be required to pass to earn either the Diploma with Distinction or Diploma with Commendation.
January 1990-- The State Board of Education adopted Chapter 3301-13 of the Administrative Code, pertaining to the administration, grading, and scoring of these tests.
March 1992-- The 119th General Assembly enacted H.B. 55 which eliminated the Certificate of Attendance that was to be awarded to anyone who met all curriculum requirements but failed to pass the ninth grade tests and the Diplomas with Distinction and Commendation; retained the twelfth grade proficiency tests but prohibited requiring passage of these tests to earn the newly established Diploma with Honors; established proficiency testing in the same four areas at fourth and sixth grades beginning in 1994-95 and 1995-96, respectively; and added science tests at all four grades beginning in 1995-96.
November 1992-- The State Board of Education amended Chapter 3301-13 of the Administrative Code, reflecting revisions in statute after enactment of H.B. 55.
July 1993-- The 120th General Assembly enacted H.B. 152, permitting districts to administer the ninth grade tests initially in March of the eighth grade year beginning in 1994; requiring all graduates of chartered non-public schools to pass the ninth grade tests beginning in 1999; providing exemptions from the citizenship test for students who are not U.S. residents, do not intend to remain in the U.S., and attend chartered non-public high schools; and requiring the State Board of Education to develop standards for ethical use of tests.
April 1994-- The State Board of Education requested and the Governor issued an Executive Order establishing Emergency Rules 3301-13-01 and 3301-13-02 (as amended) and new Rule 3301-13-08. The amendments permitted students whose native language is not English to use
July 1994-- The State Board adopted the amended rules and new rule as part of the Administrative Code.
May 1994-- The 120th General Assembly enacted Am. Sub. H.B. 552 which delayed for two years the requirement to pass the ninth grade science proficiency test in order to graduate (i.e., students who graduate after September 15, 2000, will have had to pass the science test as well as the other four test areas); and established the mechanism by which an adult who is 22 years of age or older and has a disability may be evaluated to determine eligibility for an exemption from the requirement to pass all of the proficiency tests to graduate.
The legislature also enacted Am. Sub. H.B. 715 which extended to students who are not U.S. residents and attend public high schools the same exemption from passing the citizenship test as had been extended to those attending chartered non-public schools by Am. Sub. H.B. 152; waived the requirement for districts to report achievement test data for the eighth grade when a majority of eighth graders take proficiency tests in March; and permitted eighth graders who take but do not pass all of the tests in March to retake any test not passed in October.
July 1994-- The State Board of Education requested and the Governor signed an Executive Order establishing Rule 3301-13-09 as an Emergency Rule providing a mechanism for exempting persons with disabilities who are 22 years of age or older from one or more proficiency test requirements.
October 1994-- The State Board of Education adopted new Rule 3301-13-09 of the Administrative Code.
May 1996-- Pursuant to revised legislation, the State Board amended rules to allow districts, under certain conditions, to administer Ninth grade Tests outside the regular school day (effective for the 1996-97 school year). The amended rules also require schools to record each student's Ninth grade and Twelfth grade Proficiency Test performance on the transcript, beginning in 1996-97.
July 1997-- Pursuant to revised legislation, the State Board requested and the Governor issued an Executive Order making effective immediately the provisions of Rule 3301-13-10 of the Administrative Code providing for exemptions for some students with disabilities who attend chartered nonpublic schools.
November 1997-- State Board adopted Rule 3301-13-10 of the Administrative Code providing exemptions from proficiency tests for some students with disabilities who attend chartered nonpublic schools.
April 1998-- State Supreme Court declared state proficiency tests to be subject to "public records requests" after they are administered.
May 1998-- Ohio General Assembly enacted Am.Sub.H.B.770 that exempted from public records requests all test questions being "field tested" and clarified that tests become public records on July 1st following the school year the tests are administered.
IDENTIFICATION OF TEST CONTENT
July 1988-- Draft lists of outcomes developed by groups of Ohio educators for each test area were distributed, along with a review form, to several thousand Ohio citizens representative of the state's diverse population.
September 1988--Draft lists of outcomes were included in the "Teacher Update" and enough copies for every educator were delivered to each building in every district. In addition, the State Board of Education publicized and conducted eight regional forums where Ohio educators and other citizens commented about the outcomes.
November 1988-- After considering comments received in writing and at the regional meetings, the State Board of Education adopted the outcomes for ninth grade and, in December that year, disseminated these lists to all districts.
December 1988-- The State Board of Education adopted the outcomes for the twelfth grade and, in January 1989, disseminated these lists to all districts.
March 1989-- These lists were reprinted in "Teacher Update" and copies for all educators were distributed to schools.
May 1989-- These lists were reprinted in a booklet entitled "Plan to Graduate in 1994?" and copies for every seventh grader were sent to every school. This booklet has been revised, reprinted and distributed annually to every school.
July 1994-- The State Board adopted the Model Competency Based Education Program for Science and the lists of science outcomes for the ninth grade and twelfth grade proficiency tests.
November 1994-- The State Board adopted the Model Competency Based Education Program for Social Studies and the lists of outcomes for the sixth grade tests in five test areas and for the fourth grade science test.
January 1989-- Test and item specifications were developed by curriculum specialists for each test area. The draft specifications were then reviewed by four panels of Ohio educators and other citizens. These panels included the Testing Steering Committee, a panel of educators representing the diversity of all Ohio's school districts; four content expert panels (one for each area), consisting of teachers and curriculum specialists familiar with curriculum and instruction in grades seven through 12; a bias review panel consisting of persons representing the cultural diversity of Ohio; and a national Technical Advisory Panel, consisting of test and measurement experts both from Ohio and from other parts of the country.
July 1989-- IOX Assessment Associates was awarded the contract for developing the first four forms of the test, using the test and item specifications agreed to by Ohio panels. NOTE: See Attachment A for test development steps which have been repeated as new items have been developed.
December 1989-- Initial field testing of test questions was completed in approximately 60 Ohio high schools. Data were used by review panels to approve items for inclusion in the item bank, and by the contractor to select items for the first two forms of the tests, to be administered in November 1990 and March 1991.
May 1990-- Copies of the Practice Test which was designed to illustrate questions similar to those contained in each ninth grade proficiency test were distributed to each district so that every student could see examples of how the outcomes would be measured.
December 1990-- Second field testing of test questions was completed in approximately 60 Ohio high schools. Data were used by the review panels to approve items for inclusion in the item bank, and by the contractor to select items for the third and fourth forms of the tests, to be administered in November 1991 and March 1992.
July 1993-- Initial twelfth grade test development was completed.
December 1994-- Initial fourth grade test development was completed.
NOTE: New test questions are continuously being constructed. Newly developed test questions are field tested by embedding a few of these questions in an actual form of each test.
August 1990-- Department of Education staff, with the advice of the Technical Advisory Panel, prepared a written set of procedures for use in setting standards for the ninth grade tests.
September 1990--These procedures were reviewed and approved by each of the four review panels mentioned previously.
December 1990-- The State Board of Education adopted standards for each of the four ninth grade tests contained in the initial form (Form A). The standards were set at 28 out of 40 in reading; 24 out of 40 in mathematics; 28 out of 50 in citizenship; and 5 on an eight point scale in writing. Standards for future forms are equated statistically to represent the same proficiency levels as are represented by scores established for Form A.
September 1993--The State Board of Education adopted two levels of standards for each twelfth grade test: the score indicative of twelfth grade proficiency and the score indicative of honors level achievement, and resolved to raise the lower score for each test (EXCEPT SCIENCE) in two increments, one effective for the 1995-96 school year and another in 1997-98.
October 1994-- The State Board established the score for each fourth grade test that is indicative of a fourth grade level of literacy and basic competency and resolved to raise the score standards for reading, mathematics, and citizenship, and to review the score level for writing, effective for the 1996-97 school year.
September 1995--The State Board established score standards indicative of proficiency at the sixth grade in reading, writing, mathematics, citizenship and science and in science at grades four, nine, and twelve. The Board also established score standards indicative of advanced (or honors) level achievement in all tests at grades four and six and science at grade twelve. The State Board voted to increase the proficient standards for science at grade four (1999) and grade nine (Class of 2004) as well as reading at grade six (1998 and 2000).
September 1996--The State Board voted to increase the proficient standards for fourth grade writing in 1997 and fourth grade reading, mathematics, and citizenship in 1999.
July 1998-- The State Board voted to change the effective date for the final score standard for reading at grade six from 2000 to 1999.
NINTH GRADE -- FULLY IMPLEMENTED
-- From 1990 to 1993, tests were administered twice each year. Since 1993-94, tests are administered four times each year. Students in grades nine through twelve are required to take any test not yet passed in October and March. Any such student who completes a summer intervention program as well as anyone who failed to graduate earlier because of the test, may take the tests in summer. Seniors may take any test not yet passed in early May. A district may also elect to give tests to eighth graders in March.
-- Once each year, a district may appeal to the state on behalf of students who meet eligibility requirements contained in Rule 3301-13-08 of the Administrative Code to have the reading, mathematics and citizenship tests administered orally by a state examiner. Students whose native language is other than English may request the assistance of an interpreter for such a test administration for mathematics or citizenship.
-- In March 1994, plaintiffs in the Cleveland desegregation case (Reed vs. Rhodes) challenged the fairness of the test and sought a delay in the use of tests as a graduation requirement. In a court-ordered settlement, the test requirements were left intact for the Class of 1994.
-- In March 1994, the Office of Civil Rights began an investigation of possible violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. An Agreement between the Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Education was signed on October 3, 1994, ending OCR'S investigation and leaving the tests intact, without any findings.
-- After the May 1998 administration, approximately 2,350 students (out of a senior class estimated at more than 118,000) had not yet passed all four tests. Some of these students also failed to meet curriculum requirements.
-- Since 1994 many students who failed to graduate have returned to take tests and each year approximately 1,000 examinees passed the final test needed to earn a diploma.
-- In October 1995, the Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS) filed suit in federal district court in Cincinnati on behalf of its 30 members schools challenging the state's requiring member schools to administer the Ninth Grade Tests and students to pass the tests prior to graduating. In January 1996, the court ruled in favor of the state on all counts. In August 1996, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision. Plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court rejected the appeal without comment.
-- In March 1996, the science test was administered to all ninth graders. In March 1997, eighth graders took the test, becoming the first class required to pass this test to graduate after September 15, 2001.
TWELFTH GRADE -- FULLY IMPLEMENTED
-- American College Testing from Iowa City, Iowa, completed all development work for twelfth grade tests in summer 1993. This development followed the same general procedures described previously for the ninth grade tests.
-- One form of the Twelfth Grade Proficiency Tests is administered annually in February to all seniors who have passed all ninth grade tests by January 1. Although standards for three tests were increased for the second time, over 52 percent of those tested in February 1998 passed at least four tests. Over 38 percent passed all five, including science.
-- In January 1996, the State Board approved issuing certificates of recognition to students who pass all five tests or who attain an honors level score in one or more tests. Following the February 1998 test administration, over 44,000 students earned one or both of these certificates.
-- In August 1997, Am. Sub. Senate Bill 55 enacted by the General Assembly requires the Board of Regents to provide a scholarship of at least $500 to any student who passes all five tests and who is admitted to an higher education institution. Effective after July 1, 1999.
FOURTH GRADE AND SIXTH GRADE TESTS -- FULLY IMPLEMENTED
-- Riverside Publishing Company from Chicago, Illinois, has completed work on initial development of the fourth grade and sixth grade tests.
-- Fourth grade and sixth grade proficiency tests in reading, writing, mathematics, citizenship, and science continue to be administered during March each year.
-- Scores needed to pass fourth grade tests in reading, writing, mathematics and citizenship were increased for tests administered in March 1997. Scores needed to pass reading, mathematics, citizenship, and science will be increased again for tests administered in March 1999.
-- The score needed to pass the sixth grade test in reading was increased in March 1998 and will be increased again in March 2000. No other passing scores for sixth grade tests will be increased.
SCIENCE TESTS -- GRADES FOUR, SIX, NINE, AND TWELVE
-- Fourth grade and sixth grade science proficiency tests developed by Riverside Publishing Company and ninth grade and twelfth grade science tests developed by ACT were administered initially in February or March 1996.
ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR USE OF TESTS
-- In January 1995, the State Board of Education adopted Rule 3301-7-01 of the Administrative Code, identifying unethical and inappropriate practices for preparing students to take tests, administering and scoring the tests, and using test results. Standards apply to building level and district level assessments (i.e., standardized testing, proficiency testing, and competency-based education assessments. Assessments developed and used by individual classroom teachers are not addressed by these standards.
Source: Roger Trent, Ohio Department of Education
Rv. September 1998
STEPS IN DEVELOPING, REVIEWING AND SELECTING TEST QUESTIONS
Similar procedures for developing, reviewing, and approving proficiency test materials have been followed since development of the ninth grade test materials began in 1989. A chronological listing of major steps is included below:
1. TEST AND ITEM SPECIFICATIONS -- Following input from committees of Ohio educators and other citizens, the test development contractor prepares draft test and item specifications that are approved by content review committees representative of Ohio educators, the bias review panel representative of the diversity of Ohio's citizens, the testing steering committee representative of local educational leaders, and the national technical advisory committee.
2. ITEM WRITING -- The test development contractor is responsible for writing items that meet the approved test and item specifications.
3. SENSITIVITY REVIEW -- The Bias Review Panel reviews all newly developed items and stimulus materials to ensure none is offensive to, negatively stereotypes, or unfairly disadvantages members of any subgroup. Items may be approved without revision, approved with revision, or eliminated. In 1995, seven criteria contained in proposed HB 89 seeking to allow parents the right to approve materials their child would be tested on were added.
4. CONTENT REVIEW -- Following the completion of a sensitivity review, items are reviewed by the Content Review Panel for fairness, content validity, and appropriateness for the purpose and population tested. Again, an item may be approved with or without revision or eliminated.
5. FIELD TEST -- All items approved in both steps 3 and 4 are included either in one of several field test forms or embedded within an actual form and administered to students at the intended grade. Extensive data collected for each item are provided to bias and content review panels.
6. DIFFERENTIAL ITEM FUNCTIONING -- The bias review panel is provided much data disaggregated by subgroup. Panel members may examine any item, but are specifically asked to review items that may be flagged as differentially favoring one or more subgroups as compared to another or that may be questioned by a person administering the test. Members may recommend any of four decisions -- approve the item; approve the item, but recommend that it be used only to meet test specifications; revise the item and field test again; or eliminate the item.
7. CONTENT REVIEW -- Each content panel reviews items again in terms of the information from the field test. After reviewing this information, the member chooses from options described in step 6 above.
8. ITEM SELECTION -- After consideration of comments by panel members, field test data, and test specifications, the contractor selects items that collectively represent a test form equivalent to the initial test form. Each draft form is reviewed and approved by Department of Education staff. After any operational form is administered, an item may be flagged and resubmitted for review at steps 6 and 7.
SOURCE: OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
In July 1987, the Ohio General Assembly enacted legislation requiring all students awarded diplomas by an Ohio public high school to pass state-prescribed tests in reading, writing, mathematics, and citizenship beginning in spring 1994. High schools are required to administer tests twice each year to any student who has not yet passed all required tests. Schools also administer tests in May each year to seniors still trying to pass tests in time to graduate from high school.
At the option of the school district, tests may be administered initially in March of eighth grade or in October of ninth grade. Beginning in ninth grade students are required to take any test not yet passed at least twice each year.
In March 1992, legislation was passed adding science as a fifth test area that students must pass in order to graduate beginning in spring 2001. Tests are administered first in March 1996, but the first ninth grade class of students affected take tests in October 1997.
In July 1993, the legislature extended the requirement to all students who graduate from nonpublic high schools chartered by the state, effective with the class of 1999. The first ninth grade class of students affected by this requirement is the class required to take tests in October 1995.
The Ohio Ninth Grade Proficiency Testing Program has been challenged four times
to date. The following chart provides a summary of who challenged, what issues
involved were involved in each
challenge, and how the issues were resolved.
|General Assembly/'92||Are the tests fair and appropriate?||Legislative Office of Education Oversight Study|
|Plaintiffs in Reed v. Rhodes (Cleveland Desegregation Case)/'94||Do the tests adversely impact African American students in Cleveland and/or the state?||Federal Court Settlement Agreement left tests intact.|
|U.S. Office of Civil Rights||Do the tests adversely impact African American and/or ESL students in the State?||Settlement Agreement left tests intact.|
|Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS)/'95||Can State require Chartered nonpublic schools to administer tests to ninth graders in October 1995?||Federal Court ruled in favor of State. (Appealed by Plaintiff.)|
SOURCE: OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION