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Ohio has a comprehensive system for assessing students. Beyond high stakes and achievement tests, there are diagnostic assessments that inform teachers about what students know and can do prior to instruction. There are assessments that evaluate the progress of student learning and there are summative assessments that demonstrate a student’s level of proficiency in a subject.
Starting in grade 3, Ohio students begin taking Achievement Tests in Reading and Mathematics. Students take these on a yearly basis through 8th grade. In grades 4 and 7 students take a Writing Assessment as part of the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) series. In grades 5 and 8 students also take Science and Social Studies Assessments.
The Ohio Reading Achievement Test for students in grades 3-8 has multiple-choice, short answer and extended-response questions. At each grade level students have between 36-38 questions per test. The most of them are multiple-choice format. There are 3-4 short answer questions and 2-3 extended- response questions. Students are given 4 or 5 reading passages, informational and literary, and the questions are based upon these passages.
The Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT’s) cover the subjects of Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. These examinations are given in multiple-choice, short answer and extended-response formats as well. There are approximately the same number of questions as students have been used to from testing in the earlier grades, the level of complexity is the factor that increases with assessments for older students.
The Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA’s) and Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT’s) are developed so that they align to the expectations for teaching and learning laid out in the curriculum. The tests show the areas of each subject that a student has developed to proficient levels in and the ones in which they need to focus attention. This information offers a lot of guidance to educators in terms of where instruction is needed.
The Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT’s) follow the same logic as the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA’s) that precede them. As the assessments are tied to the curriculum the state has developed, the general standards of content learning that students are expected to attain remains the same throughout the students education. It allows for students to continually deepen their knowledge in the subject while picking up age appropriate skills and knowledge.