Assessment and Testing

Like other Ohio school districts, students in Pickerington Schools take American Institutes for Research (AIR) assessments each spring, along with select other tests. These tests align with the state’s learning standards and with the Pickerington Schools curriculum. These assessments also encourage students to use the critical thinking skills necessary to prepare them for college and career.

You might wonder why the state requires districts to invest time and effort doing this kind of testing and assessment. The simple answer is that it helps us identify improvements to our curriculum and better serve every student’s individual learning needs. These tools also are critical for gauging the performance and academic growth of individual students, as well as for evaluating the overall effectiveness of the district’s curriculum and teaching. They help us compare our performance to other schools and districts across Ohio.

State-mandated Testing

Why are Standardized Tests Important?

Why do the Department of Education and school districts such as Pickerington spend time on standardized testing?

It’s because there is tremendous value in the information we can gather about individual students’ progress and the district’s approach to education.

Such tests are known as “summative” exams, because they require students to prove they can apply knowledge they have learned in the past. (“Formative” tests, on the other hand, help identify whether students have learned knowledge on a more ongoing basis.) They also evaluate whether students have mastered knowledge and skills at a particular point in time, as outlined in the Ohio standards for specific grade levels and courses.

It’s important that we have standardized tests that gauge our own progress and compare that progress to what’s happening in other school districts. We use these tests when assessing and adjusting our curriculum. We use them to identify ways Pickerington Schools can continue to improve the education we are providing.

The Department of Education uses them when developing school district report cards.

Fortunately, these tests are just a few of tools districts use to assess how much individual students – and the district – are improving. Pickerington Schools also use data from college entrance exams, ST Math, STAR, mastery-based grading, and local assessments.

By studying data from all these tools, Pickerington Schools can continue our ongoing pursuit of excellence in education for our students.

What Tests Do Students Take?

The Ohio Department of Education requires students to take exams created by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) for science, social studies, math and English Language Arts.

2016-17 Testing Calendar Windows

Third Grade English Language Arts fall assessment

November 15, 2016

Fall AIR Retakes (high school level courses only)

December 5-13, 2016

 

Spring AIR testing

There will be two separate testing windows. The first will be for the ELA assessment and the second window will be for the math, science, and social studies assessments.

ELA AIR Assessment window: March 29-April 11, 2017

Math, Science, Social Studies Assessment window: April 24-May 12, 2017

 

Information for High School Parents

Students graduating beginning in 2018 will take Ohio’s new tests if they are enrolled in English 9, English 10, Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, American History, and Principles of Democracy. (Students may earn graduation points through approved substitute tests for Biology and History.)

 

Please visit the Ohio Department of Education’s website for more information.

High school assessments taken in junior high school will count toward graduation requirements for Class of 2018 and beyond. Visit the Ohio Department of Education’s graduation requirements website for more information.

Students with Disabilities

Any student with a disability will be provided the accommodations that are listed on step 12 of his/her IEP or on the testing section of his/her 504 Plan.

If the document lists an accommodation that is not allowable according to testing rules, the parents will be contacted.

Academic Testing

About

Instructional process takes into account test results before, during and at the conclusion of instruction. Test results provide information about what students know and are able to do; they are necessary to inform instructional practices. Academic tests inform teachers in the same way diagnostic tests inform doctors.

Teachers use testing information to design an appropriate plan based on students’ content knowledge and skill gaps. The district uses local, state and national assessments to inform instruction and student learning.

The following tests are required or available for Pickerington high school students.

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)

The PSAT/NMSQT is administered in October. To prepare for Ohio’s college and career readiness accountability system, all sophomores will have the opportunity to take the PSAT.

Additionally, juniors are urged to take this test, for it measures the academic skills necessary for success in advanced placement courses and in college. The test consists of verbal and mathematics sections. Test results are shared with students and parents and are useful in academic planning. Taking the test is the first step necessary to enter the scholarship programs administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

African-American students who wish to participate in the National Achievement Scholarship Program for outstanding African-American students must take this test.

The PSAT/NMSQT is conducted for the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation by the Education Test Service (ETS).

The American College Testing (ACT) Program

State law requires districts and community schools to administer the state-funded ACT or SAT to all grade 11 students in the spring of the school year. Each year, districts and schools will select the test to administer to their juniors.  Pickerington Schools has chosen to administer the ACT to all juniors. High school students will follow procedures through the school to get registered for this spring administration of the ACT. Students may also take the ACT through independently scheduled administrations.  See your school counselor for more information. Practice ACT and SAT tests are available.

Most colleges use this test for admission. It consists of English, mathematics, science reasoning, and reading. An optional writing test is used by some colleges. The individual test items in all areas are designed to measure ability to perform the kind of complex intellectual tasks that college students typically have to perform.

Students must register at www.actstudent.org. The CEEB code for Pickerington High School Central is 364-160. The code for Pickerington High School North is 365-013.

Star Enterprise Math and Reading

In grades kindergarten through 12th, Renaissance Learning’s STAR Enterprise tests in math and reading are administered 3 times annually to help screen for student giftedness, skill gaps which may lead to intervention services, and to track student learning against a nationally normed sample of students in the same grade level. Students receiving special education or Response to Intervention (RTI) services will be “progressed monitored” more frequently using STAR tests. Test results are beneficial not only to math and English teachers, but are used by all teachers to determine appropriate text materials for use in all content area courses. Parents are provided test results after each test window. Parents are advised to discuss the results with their children and teachers to ensure students are making adequate academic progress.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT-I, Reasoning Test and SAT-II, Subject Tests)

Many colleges require these examinations for admission. They include the Scholastic Aptitude Test – I (Reasoning Test) and SAT-II (Subject Tests). The SAT-I consists of writing, verbal and mathematical sections. The verbal section is designed to measure the candidate’s ability to read with understanding and discrimination, his comprehension of words, and his skill in dealing with word relationships. The mathematical section is designed to measure aptitude for handling quantitative concepts rather than achievement in mathematics. Students may register online at www.collegeboard.com.

The SAT-II subject tests measure what has been learned in specific subject areas. Some colleges, with selective admissions, require subject tests. More information is available at www.collegeboard.org.

Pickerington Schools Common Assessments

Local pre and post tests are administered in nearly every course during the first two weeks and prior to the end of the course. Common assessments provide information for teachers about student mastery of content at both points, and allow teachers to design appropriate instruction during the course and after the conclusion of the assessments. Teachers have the discretion to use common assessment results in grading.