Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. Ohio uses the Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) to test students in grades 3 through 8, and the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) to test students in grade 10. Students must pass the OGT in order to graduate.

The Ohio Performance Index provides an overall indication of how students in each school and district are performing on the Ohio Achievement Test and the OGT.

The Ohio Value-Added Measure tracks student progress on the OAT from one year to the next.

Even though test results can be an indicator of what’s happening in the classroom, they don’t tell you everything about the quality of a school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final determination.

The information provided on GreatSchools profiles is for the 2008-2009 school year.

Tests in Ohio

In 2008-2009 Ohio used the Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) to test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math, in grades 4 and 7 in writing, and in grades 5 and 8 in science and social studies. The Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) was administered in grade 10 in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Along with public schools, some but not all private schools are required to participate in the OGT.

The OAT and the OGT test the skills in the Academic Content Standards. The standards outline what students should learn in every grade in Ohio. The exams are designed to test the grade-level skills outlined in the standards.

Ohio also administered diagnostic tests in grades 1, 2 and 3 in core subjects to measure overall student progress and to determine individual strengths and weaknesses. These test results, however, are not reported by the state.

How are the tests scored?

The OAT and OGT results report the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. Students are rated at one of the following five levels: advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic or limited. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?

For each subject, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the proficient level is displayed.

OGT state averages displayed on public school profiles include public schools only. OGT state averages displayed on private school profiles include private schools only.

GreatSchools also displays subgroup results to show how different groups of students are scoring in comparison to the overall student population in a given grade and subject. These subgroups are identified by the Ohio Department of Education; if there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.

Why do the tests matter?

Performance on state tests indicates whether or not students are making progress toward mastery of state content standards, and some districts may use test results as a factor in determining promotion from one grade to the next. High school students must pass all five subjects of the OGT to graduate. Students who do not pass the first time have multiple opportunities to retake the tests.

It is important to be aware of both your child’s score on the assessments and the overall score for his school. If your child scores below the standards, contact his teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child’s learning at home.

If the school’s overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. If your child is in a failing school, ask what your options are for transferring and obtaining supplemental services.

Ohio Performance Index

The Performance Index provides an overall indication of how well students perform on the Ohio Achievement Tests in grades 3 through 8 and the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) in grade 10. The tests have five performance levels – limited, basic, proficient, accelerated and advanced. The Performance Index score is calculated by multiplying the percentage of students at each performance level by weights ranging from 0 for untested to 1.2 for advanced students. The totals are then summed to obtain the school or district’s Performance Index score. Performance Index scores range from 0 to 120, with 100 being the goal.

Why does the Performance Index matter?

The Performance Index is one of the measures used to determine Ohio Report Card designations for schools and districts. Report Card designations range from Excellent to Academic Emergency. A Performance Index score below 70 may place a school at the level of Academic Emergency, which in turn might suggest that the overall student population of the school is not meeting the state’s expectations.

What if my child attends a school with a low Performance Index?

If your child attends a school with a low Performance Index, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. Because these schools are likely to face consequences under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, your child may be eligible to receive federal and/or state money for tutoring or to transfer to another school.

Ohio Value-Added Measure

In 2008-2009, Ohio released Value-Added Ratings for reading and math in grades 4 though 8. The Value-Added Measure shows how much growth students made on the Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) since the last school year.

How is the Value-Added Measure calculated?

Ohio expects student test scores to show an average year’s worth of growth compared to test scores from the previous year. To calculate the Value-Added Measure, each student’s scores in reading and math are compared to his or her scores from the previous year. The results for all students are then averaged together. Schools that meet the state’s growth expectation receive a checkmark and the rating “Met Expected Growth.” Schools whose growth is greater than the state’s expectation receive a plus sign and the rating “Above Expected Growth.” Schools that did not achieve as much growth as the state expected receive a minus sign and the rating “Below Expected Growth.”

The ratings for each grade and subject are then combined to create an Overall Rating for the school. The ratings for each grade and subject and the Overall Rating are displayed on GreatSchools profiles.

How is the Value-Added Measure different from test scores?

Test scores reflect student performance at one specific point in time. Test scores alone can not show if students are improving over time. The Value-Added Measure follows each student from one year to the next to show if scores are improving or declining. The Value-Added Measure can highlight when students who are not yet proficient on the state tests are nonetheless making great strides from one year to the next. It can also show when the scores of higher-performing students are declining, even if those scores have not yet dipped below the proficient level.

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