New Assessment FAQ (from Northeast Teachers Fair)
1. Do programs have to choose just one of the standardized tests or can they choose among those tests depending upon the needs of individual students?
Answer: Programs may use a combination of tests within their program as long as only one test instrument is used consistently with an individual student. Exceptions to using just one test might be using the WRAT 3 or Slosson with low level students. (See the Assessment Policy for guidance on using the WRAT 3 or Slosson.)
2. Are programs still permitted to give students tests that do not appear on the State approved list?
Answer: Yes, however, they should be administered in addition to the state standardized assessments listed within the assessment policy and not in lieu of those tests.
3. Can I use the Uniform Portfolio to place students?
Answer: No. You would not have any data to make a placement determination. UPS is only used to document student progress and advancement, not initial placement in an educational functioning level.
4. Do I have to keep a portfolio on every student even though I might choose to test every 90 days using a standardized test?
Answer: Yes. A Uniform Portfolio must be kept on every student within your program.
5. Are we still allowed to use the TABE 7&8 Survey?
6. If our program places a student using TABE 7 Survey, on what form do we post-test?
Answer: You should post-test using TABE 7 Survey. If you use TABE 8 Survey, then you should post-test using TABE 8 Survey.
7. If our program places a student using TABE 7 full battery, on what form do we post-test?
Answer: You should post-test using TABE 7 or 8 full battery.
8. When can we see the Kansas Computer Literacy Assessment?
Answer: It is in the O-PAS Manual that was provided during the teleconference series.
9. L-100-4d: With the assessment policy, are all students to be reassessed or portfolios reviewed every 90 days?
10. Does the L-100-4d 90-day policy refer to calendar days or days of attendance?
Answer: Calendar days. This supports a policy of maintaining student data files current every three calendar months or four times over a twelve-month period.
11. L-100-8: What about workplace literacy programs and ESOL programs? What are they doing?
Answer: Both Workplace Literacy programs and ESOL programs must use an approved standardized test to place all students. Please see the Assessment Policy for more details.
12. How long will the programs have to keep contents of portfolios?
Answer: Programs will retain, either in paper or electronic file form, individual student records, including results of the most recent literacy level completion and/or progress data, for no less than five years following the completion of the State Audit of that State Fiscal Year period.
13. In the past, a 16-18 year old could come in and take a practice test without withdrawing from school. Can we continue to give the practice test without requiring a 16-18 year old person to show proof of withdrawing if we boost orientation to 12 hours and count that person within the CE?
Answer: School-aged youth who are not appropriately withdrawn from school are not eligible for services provided with ABLE funds. This has always been the case and restricting ABLE funded services in this manner is not a new policy. ABLE is not authorized or funded to serve school-aged youth. Referral of school-aged youth should be made to an appropriate high school.
14. If a GED student scores at least 13-reading, 14 math, and 11-language on the TABE locator, can I use the Official GED Practice Test (L-100-9)?
Answer: Yes, but for placement purposes only. Please see the FY 2001 Assessment Policy for further details.
15. The math locator has 18 examples. Four of those examples (22% of the test) are the same percentage problem. Often a person misses all four because of a lack of skill in this area. If this is the student's only major weakness and he makes a careless mistake or misses an algebra example with operations involving negative numbers (which is not a big component of the GED) he'll have a score of less than 14 and would be then taking the TABE 7 or 8 before the practice test. Can we allow teacher judgement in these cases?
Answer: There are numerous individual situations where common sense will have to be used to make a decision. The policies have been created as a general guide.
16. Would you consider using Life Prints for the ESOL assessment?
Answer: Not for the 2000-01 program year. Changing or adding such an item at this time would cause us to have to change the entire system. The ESOL Systems Development Committee will be looking at other assessments and processes over the next year. We will forward this information to the committee for their review and recommendation.
17. Sometimes students come to us with one academic goal - e.g. to improve reading - but later realize that they also want to improve in other academic areas. If we have pre-assessed them only in reading - which relates to the goal, do we have to keep pre-assessing them at their various "insight" points rather than having given a larger battery based on our intuition during orientation?
Answer: Yes, you would. If you feel that the student would benefit from taking the complete battery in all or multiple subjects rather than in just the "current" goal area, in consultation and advisement with the student, the teacher should use his/her best judgement.
18. How does Power Path fit into the assessment?
Answer: PowerPath is still seen by the State ABLE Office as an effective tool for determining students learning difficulties and helping teachers make some appropriate choices about instructional approaches. This concept has not changed.
PowerPath is a good diagnostic screening tool for identifying learning difficulties. It is not intended or designed to serve as an academic achievement test.
19. Can we give GED practices tests to 16, 17, and 18 year old students that have not withdrawn from school?
Answer: No. School-aged youth not appropriately withdrawn from school are not eligible for services provided with ABLE funds. ABLE is not authorized or funded to serve in-school youth. Serving 16-18 year old youth is the legal responsibility of the appropriate public school district. See also separate policy memorandum on Ineligibility of School-Aged Youth.
20. Could the portfolio process be used as a job hunting and showcase tool?
Answer: Yes, in some cases it probably could if a potential employer requests such documentation of skill mastery.
21. How are MR/DD students tested?
Answer: Teachers are going to have to use their professional judgements with MR/DD students. For guidance, see the Assessment Policy. The state program office is currently reviewing how ABLE can best serve this population with consultation from the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
22. Should personal information be included in individual learning portfolios?
Answer: No, because others might have access to it.
23. Do we have the option of post testing?
Answer: No, all students must be post-tested using the same test that the student took as his/her pre-test. Formal post-testing remains the preferred, however if the student leaves before the post-test is given, then the Uniform Portfolio analysis should be used. Please see the Assessment Policy for more details.
24. Will there be special pricing for BEST products?
Answer: A negotiated discount was granted for the state's initial bulk purchase. These materials will be distributed during scheduled BEST Training. We do not know at this time whether the testing company will extend the discount beyond the group purchase.
25. When will the computerized version of the BEST test be out?
Answer: A computerized version of the BEST is not expected soon.
26. Should there be separate testing and orientation for ESOL students?
27. Will all of the Resource Centers do the BEST training?
Answer: No, training is being arranged through the Northeast ABLE Resource Center to accommodate the state's needs.
28. In small ESOL components (1 teacher), should we have someone else administer the BEST test?
Answer: Programs might want to collaborate with another local ABLE program that serves a greater number of ESOL students. In some cases, the instructor may need to administer the test.
29. Could several programs share an orientation, BEST administrator?
Answer: Yes. Make sure, however, that the same information given to all students applies to all represented programs, and not just the program that is hosting the orientation.
30. How long is the BEST literacy test?
Answer: 1 hour
31. Is there a uniform test for citizenship testing?
Answer: No, but we hope to develop competencies for portfolio assessment in FY 2001.
32. Can teachers use portfolios for students other than ESOL students?
Answer: Yes. The portfolios are to be used with all ESOL and non-ESOL students.
33. How are programs going to be able to get GED scores? We need more than pass/fail?
Answer: Without a student signed release, no score information should be released to anyone other than the student and local examiner. The Department is investigating ways to revise the GED Test application to include an authorization for release of score information to ABLE providers. It is our intent to then establish an automated state data match and local notification process.
34. When can we use a portfolio and when must we use a standardized test?
Answer: Please see the Assessment Policy.
35. What do we do with students who leave before the post-test is given?
Answer: Once it's been determined that they're not returning, use the last review of the student's portfolio to determine their progress. This information would be used to complete the Progress and Exit Forms.
36. Should we use both forms of the BEST Test?
Answer: You should give both the oral and the literacy test. You may track either for reporting.
37. Should we test students every 90 days?
Answer: You should use the 90 days as a means to determine whether testing or updating the portfolio is needed.
38. Will someone be doing the testing other than teachers? If so, will there be extra money to do this?
Answer: Who will do testing is a local program decision. Instructional programs received an increase in their FY2001 allocations. This increase could potentially be used to offset costs incurred due to O-PAS requirements. There is no additional special purpose account just for testing and assessment.
39. Do we have to give a standardized assessment at intake?
Answer: No. You may choose to wait until another time when you feel the student would be more prepared to take the assessment. Please refer to the O-PAS Student Experience Model for guidance.
40. What type of assessment can we use for low-functioning individuals?
Answer: In certain circumstances, you may use the WRAT 3 or Slosson. Please see the Assessment Policy for details.
41. For students who are just learning to write their names, must we use the TABE? Is the WRAT acceptable?
Answer: Please review the Assessment Policy. There are clear and definite provisions for low functioning students.
42. Will we learn more about the UPS?
Answer: Yes. Further training is being planned for FY 2001 and will be announced when arranged.
43. Can TABE serve as a sound basis for helping students set realistic goals?
Answer: Yes, in many circumstances it can?
44. Can the official GED Practice Test be counted in the 12 hours?
Answer: Yes, but not the Official GED Test.
45. Is the 12 hour orientation/instruction mandatory?
Answer: Twelve hours is the mandatory minimum amount of time required to engage students in ABLE services to consider them enrolled in ABLE. However, a 12-hour orientation process however is not mandatory.
46. Will the Locator Test determine which TABE (A, D, M, or E) will be administered?
Answer: Yes. It always has and will continue to be used for this intended purpose.
47. Will volunteers/and or staff be paid for BEST Test training?
Answer: Not from the Resource Centers. Individual programs may choose to pay instructors from their budgets for this training.
48. What standardized test locator can be used to determine whether it is appropriate to administer the WRAT 3 or Slosson?
Answer: The Student Experience Model outlines this procedure. The TABE or AMES locator should be used. The TABE Word List is considered part of the locator category.
49. Are we required to administer all sections of a locator, or can we just administer reading? Does it depend on the student's goal?
Answer: One or more sections of the Locator Test may be administered according to a student's established goal.
50. Could an ESOL program use neither the CASAS nor BEST ever and only the Uniform Portfolio System with another oral assessment in it?
Answer: No. ESOL programs and programs serving ESOL students must use the CASAS or BEST for at least placement. The UPS may be used to show progress and advancement after the placement level has been determined. Please see the Assessment Policy.
51. How should programs administer the Kansas Computer Literacy Assessment (KCLA)?
Answer: The KCLA was included within the assessment menu in order for programs that actually taught basic computer skills to have a way of documenting placement, progress, and post-testing. It is not meant for programs that simply use computer-assisted instruction. If you use it with your basic computer skills students, you may either use the KCLA as a self-assessment (ask the student the questions and mark down the "yes" or "no" responses) or it may be used as an observational performance assessment. The test is much more accurate if you use it as an observational performance assessment because the test administrator can never really be sure if the student properly understands the terminology used. If the student understands the word "download" as simply "turning on the computer" then he/she might give a "yes" answer when indeed he/she does not know how to download a file. If the test administrator treats the test as an observational performance assessment, the student will be able to demonstrate the activity. The teacher, on observing whether the student accurately performed the activity, would mark for example, either "yes, the student can download a file" or "no, the student cannot download a file." Regardless of the assessment method you use, you must use the same method for both pre- and post testing.
After administering the test, if the student scores below 75% within that particular level, he/she should be placed within that level. If the student scores at 75% or above, then place the student at the next level.
This Assessment FAQ was last updated on 7-27-2000