Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions for Families

  1. What are the Ohio Achievement Assessments?

    The Ohio Reading and Mathematics Achievement Assessments are annual tests that measure how well students have learned the reading and math concepts taught in grades 3–8. The Ohio Science Assessments are annual tests provided to students in grades 5 and 8. These assessments are designed specifically for Ohio students and are based on Ohio’s Academic Content Standards. They do not test a child’s intelligence or aptitude and are not meant to compare children’s abilities. (Note: Social Studies and Writing Assessments have been temporarily suspended and will not be administered in spring 2010 or spring 2011.)

  2. Why does my child take the Ohio Achievement Assessments?

    The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires all states to establish academic standards that show what students should know and be able to do in reading and mathematics at the end of each grade. NCLB also requires states to test all students in grades 3–8 annually in reading and mathematics to assess how well students are meeting the Academic Content Standards. The results of the assessments are used to identify districts, schools and students that may require additional resources to meet state Academic Content Standards.

  3. How do the Ohio Achievement Assessments benefit my child?

    The Achievement Assessments ensure that families and teachers know whether each student has learned the reading and math skills and information expected at each grade level. The Achievement Assessments can also help identify specific areas in which a student needs extra support and practice. Teachers and families can then work together to ensure that a student gets the help that he or she needs.

    The Achievement Assessments also help identify when students have gained a strong understanding of grade-level materials and may be ready to be challenged by more advanced concepts and activities.

  4. What happens if my child does not score proficient on the Ohio Achievement Assessments?

    These test results are one of the factors teachers use to evaluate a child’s readiness to move to the next grade. Teachers also look at the child’s attendance, classroom participation and class work to determine whether the child is ready to be promoted.

    If your child does not score at or above the proficient level (a score of 400) on any of the assessments, this is an indication that he or she is having difficulty learning the skills and developing the knowledge expected of his or her grade level and may need additional help. You may wish to talk to your child’s teacher(s) about the assessment results and the resources that can help ensure his or her success.

    If your child does not reach the score required by the Third Grade Reading Guarantee on the Ohio Achievement Assessment Grade 3 Reading Test after all administrations of the assessment or on the alternative grade 3 reading test, he or she will be retained unless the student is eligible for a retention exemption.

  5. Why does my child have two scores for the Grade 3 Reading Assessment?

    The Grade 3 Reading Assessment is given twice a year based on Ohio law. The highest score is used for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

  6. What happens if my child’s school does not perform well on the assessments?

    If a school does not perform as well as expected on the assessments, the district and state may offer the school additional teacher training, extra instructional materials, coaching from experienced educators, and other resources.

    If a school does not meet test performance goals for several years in a row, students at that school may receive additional educational options, such as the chance to transfer to another school in the district or free after-school tutoring.

  7. Do students with special needs or children who do not speak English as a first language take the same tests as children in general education programs?

    Schools are responsible for ensuring that all students, including students with disabilities and students identified as English language learners, acquire the knowledge and skills expected at each grade level. Therefore, all students take the statewide Achievement Assessments.

    Students with disabilities may take the tests with allowable accommodations, such as extended time or reading aloud of directions and test questions, or may take an alternate version of the assessment called the Ohio Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (AASWD), which is designed specifically for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

    Students who are not proficient in English may be given support, such as a dictionary and/or extra time to complete the tests. Students who are not proficient in English and meet eligibility criteria may be given additional support, such as an interpreter in the student’s native language.

  8. Where can I see samples of the questions that appeared on the assessments?

    The Success Web site contains questions that were released from each fall Grade 3 Reading and spring Achievement Assessment. These questions can be found in the “Understanding Test Results” section (select a subject, grade and release year to view the released questions from that assessment).

    A detailed explanation of correct and incorrect answers accompanies each released question, as well as an easy-to-understand section on the concepts that students need to know and understand in order to respond to the question successfully.

    For multiple-choice questions, the Web site presents all of the answer choices along with rationales that explain why each choice is correct or incorrect. For constructed-response questions, the Web site presents scoring guidelines and examples of responses for each score point.

  9. Who writes the test questions that appear on the assessments?

    The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) works with an independent assessment contractor to develop the test questions that appear on the Achievement Assessments. All test questions are reviewed for content, grade appropriateness, fairness, and sensitivity by committees that are made up of Ohio educators and stakeholders.

    Test questions are based on Ohio’s Academic Content Standards, which were developed and adopted with input from teachers, families, school personnel, and community members across the state.

  10. What resources are available to help my child improve his or her performance on the tests? Are practice tests available?

    Several resources are available to help students improve performance on the assessments:

    • The Success Web site allows students, families and teachers to interact with test questions that were used on previous assessments. These released test questions are viewable online along with the rationale for why the “key” is correct and why the incorrect options are wrong. Additionally, a mini-lesson is embedded in the “What knowledge do students need to understand this concept?” tab for students to try in an effort to build on their understanding of the concept(s) related to each question.
    • The Success Web site also provides online practice tests that students can take on their own. Teachers may assign specific tests to students for homework, or teachers may assign existing tests and/or create custom tests that focus on specific content standards.
    • Your child’s teacher may also be able to recommend additional ways your child can improve his or her performance.
    • The Family Score Reports include suggested activities to help your child practice specific skills.
    • You may also consult the “Resources” section of the Success Web site for more links to instructional tools.
    • Downloadable practice tests for the Grades 3–8 Achievement Assessments are available on ODE’s Web site.
    • Released test materials for Ohio’s Grades 3–8 Achievement Assessments are available on ODE’s Web site.

  11. How are assessment scores determined?

    There are different types of questions on the assessments–multiple choice, short answer, extended response, and writing prompt. Each question type is scored differently:

    • Multiple-choice questions are given a score of 0 or 1, depending on whether the answer is incorrect or correct.
    • Short-answer questions are given a score that ranges from 0–2 points; the score is determined based on the accuracy of information contained in the child’s responses.
    • Extended-response questions are given a score that ranges from 0–4 points; the score is determined based on the accuracy of information contained in the child’s responses. For Writing (which is currently suspended), student responses can receive scores of 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12.

    For more information on how constructed responses on the Achievement Assessments are scored, refer to the “Scorer Training” subsection on this Web site, located in the “Understand Test Results” section. (Note: To get to the “Scorer Training” subsection from the “Understand Test Results” page, choose a “subject area,” select a grade level and administration year, and then click the green “I’m Ready!” button. You will be directed to a page that offers “Learn How Written Responses Are Scored” as one of the options. Click the link to proceed.)

  12. What is my child expected to know at the end of each grade?

    At the end of each grade, your child is expected to know and be able to do what is described in Ohio’s Academic Content Standards. By meeting grade-level expectations, your child will be on track for continued success beyond the current grade.

    For more information on the expectations for your child, please refer to the “What’s Expected of Students” section of this Web site, where descriptions of the standards in each subject (Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Writing) are provided.

  13. How do I contact technical support for this Web site?

    For additional support with the Ohio Portal, please call the Ohio Help Desk at 1-888-944-5001, e-mail OHHelpDesk@air.org or click the [User Support] button at the bottom of every page.

  14. How do I exit this Web site?

    If you are using a computer with Windows, click the [X] in the upper right-hand side of your screen. If you are using a Mac, click the red circle in the upper left-hand side of your screen.

Frequently Asked Questions for Educators

  1. Why does the state administer Achievement Assessments?

    The Ohio Reading and Mathematics Achievement Assessments are annual tests that measure how well students have learned the reading and math concepts taught in grades 3–8. The Science Assessments are annual tests provided to students in grades 5 and 8. These assessments are designed specifically for Ohio students and are based on Ohio’s Academic Content Standards. They do not test a child’s intelligence or aptitude and are not meant to compare children’s abilities. (Note: Social Studies and Writing Assessments have been temporarily suspended and will not be administered in spring 2010 or spring 2011.)

    The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires all states to establish academic standards that detail what students should know and be able to do in reading and mathematics at the end of each grade. NCLB also requires states to test all students in grades 3–8 annually in reading and mathematics to assess how well students are meeting the Academic Content Standards. The results of the tests are used to identify districts, schools and students that may require additional resources to meet state Academic Content Standards.

  2. How do the assessments link to Ohio’s academic standards?

    The Ohio Achievement Assessments are written to specific benchmarks and indicators in the Ohio Academic Content Standards.

    The Academic Content Standards provide clarity to Ohio teachers in terms of what content and skills should be taught at each grade level. How the material is taught is a decision for the local schools and districts.

  3. What happens if a school does not perform well on the assessments?

    If a school does not perform as well as expected on the assessments, the district and state may offer the school additional teacher training, extra instructional materials, coaching from experienced educators, and other resources.

    If a school does not meet test performance goals for several years in a row, students at that school may receive additional educational options, such as the chance to transfer to another school in the district or free after-school tutoring. The school may also be required to undertake more dramatic reforms.

  4. Do students in special education programs and English language learners take the same assessments?

    Schools are responsible for ensuring that all students, including students with disabilities and students identified as English language learners, acquire the knowledge and skills expected at each grade level. Therefore, all students take the statewide Achievement Assessments.

    Students with disabilities may take the tests with allowable accommodations, such as extended time or reading aloud of directions and test questions, or may take an alternate version of the assessment called the Ohio Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (AASWD), which is designed specifically for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

    Students who are not proficient in English may be given support, such as a dictionary and/or extra time to complete the tests. Students who are not proficient in English and meet eligibility criteria may be given additional support, such as an interpreter in the student’s native language.

  5. Who writes the assessments?

    The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) works with an independent assessment contractor to develop the test questions that appear on the Achievement Assessments. All test questions are reviewed for content, grade appropriateness, fairness, and sensitivity by committees that are made up of Ohio educators and stakeholders.

    Test questions are based on Ohio’s Academic Content Standards, which were developed and adopted with input from teachers, families, school personnel, and community members across the state.

  6. Can I see the actual questions that appeared on the assessments?

    This Web site contains questions identified for release from the fall Grade 3 Reading and spring Achievement Assessments. For each question that is released on the Web site, a detailed explanation is given. For multiple-choice questions, rationales are provided that explain why the “key” is the correct answer and why the other options are incorrect; for written constructed-response items, the scoring guidelines are included to show what information is given credit.

    In addition, the Success Web site includes statistics on the percentage of students in the state that selected each answer option. The score report you received also includes the percentage of students in your class, school or district that answered each item correctly.

  7. What resources are available to help students improve their performance on the assessments? Are practice tests available?

    Several resources are available to help students improve performance on the assessments:

    • The Success Web site allows students, families and teachers to interact with test questions that were used on previous assessments. These released test questions are viewable online along with the rationale for why the “key” is correct and why the incorrect options are wrong. Additionally, a mini-lesson is embedded in the “What knowledge do students need to understand this concept?” tab for students to try in an effort to build on their understanding of the concept(s) related to each question.
    • The Success Web site also provides online practice tests that students can take on their own. Teachers may assign specific tests to students for homework, or teachers may assign existing tests and/or create custom tests that focus on specific content standards.
    • The Family Score Reports include suggested activities to help your student practice specific skills.
    • You may also consult the “Resources” section of the Success Web site for more links to instructional tools.
    • Downloadable practice tests for the Grades 3–8 Achievement Assessments are available on ODE’s Web site.
    • Released test materials for Ohio’s Grades 3–8 Achievement Assessments are available on ODE’s Web site.

  8. For which grades and subjects will I receive score reports?

    Educators will receive score reports in Reading and Mathematics for grades 3–8 and Science for grades 5 and 8. (Note: Social Studies and Writing Assessments have been temporarily suspended and will not be administered in spring 2010 or spring 2011.)

  9. How are questions on the assessments scored?

    There are different types of questions on the assessments—multiple choice, short answer, extended response, and writing prompt. Each question type is scored differently:

    • Multiple-choice questions are given a score of 0 or 1, depending on whether the answer is incorrect or correct.
    • Short-answer questions are given a score that ranges from 0–2 points; the score is determined based on the accuracy of information contained in the student’s responses.
    • Extended-response questions are given a score that ranges from 0–4; the score is determined based on the accuracy of information contained in the student’s responses.
    • For Writing (which is currently suspended), a student’s response can receive a score of 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12.

    For more information on how constructed responses on the Achievement Assessments are scored, refer to the “Scorer Training” subsection on this Web site, located in the “Understand Test Results” section. (Note: To get to the “Scorer Training” subsection from the “Understand Test Results” page, choose a subject area, select a grade level and administration year, and then click the green “I’m Ready!” button. You will be directed to a page that offers “Learn How Written Responses Are Scored” as one of the options. Click the link to proceed.)


  10. What are students expected to know and be able to do at the end of each grade?

    You can see what students are expected to know by the end of each grade by going to the “What’s Expected of Students” section of this Web site. In this section, you will find proficiency level descriptions and content standard information for each year, grade and subject.

  11. What does the Ohio Online Assessment Reporting System allow me to do?

    Note: Only superintendents, district test coordinators and principals can access the Ohio Online Assessment Reporting System (OOARS). Once principals give access to teachers, teachers will also be able to access the system.

    Through this site, superintendents and district test coordinators will be able to:

    • view test score data for students in their district who took the Grades 3–8 Achievement Assessments;
    • view aggregate scores for the classes and schools in their district;
    • analyze their district’s data using online tools;
    • re-roster students in their district and transfer them to other schools in the district;
    • add or delete teachers; and
    • add classes within their district and assign students to those classes.

    Principals will be able to:

    • view test score data for students in their school who took the Grades 3–8 Achievement Assessments;
    • view aggregate scores for the classes in their school;
    • analyze their school’s data using online tools;
    • re-roster the students in their school;
    • add or delete teachers (for their school);
    • add classes within their school and assign students to those classes; and
    • generate and print copies of school reports.

    Once principals have given their teachers access to the site, teachers will be able to:

    • add classes within their school and
    • assign students to different classes within their school.

    OOARS and Local Report Card

    Through OOARS (https://reports.success-ode-state-oh-us.info), also accessed through the Success Portal (http://portal.success-ode-state-oh-us.info), districts may view and export summary reports on how their districts, schools or students performed overall and within each subject content standard. Administrators and teachers are reminded that information contained in these reports may not match information in the district’s Local Report Card (LRC).

    Please be cautious using information in OOARS when considering your district’s LRC. The information in OOARS may not match the district’s LRC because of a number of factors:

    • The OOARS report includes all students tested in the district. Students who were not continuously enrolled, and therefore would not be included in the LRC, are also included in the data.
    • Reports in OOARS are only for a specific administration. LRC data may combine multiple administrations, such as grade 3 reading (fall and spring) or grade 11 OGT cumulative results.
    • LRC data are collected through EMIS submission from districts. OOARS data are generated from the pre-ID label data AND from information bubbled on the demographic pages of answer documents. Therefore, some missing or inaccurate data could exist due to error whereas the EMIS data from districts are subjected to multiple rounds of validation before public release.
    • Unique for the IEP group, reports in OOARS do not combine the regular test results with the AASWD results. The LRC data do combine the two. This could result in a significant difference for this group of students between the two reports.


  12. How do I access OOARS? Where can I get my password?

    All superintendents, district test coordinators and principals should have login authorization for OOARS.

    If you do not know your OOARS login information, please call 1-888-944-5001 or e-mail the Ohio Help Desk at OHHelpDesk@air.org to request your password. You may need to provide your credentials before you can receive a new password.

    Note: Your login for OOARS is not the same as for the OAA Success Web site.

  13. My teachers do not have passwords to access OOARS. How do I obtain these?

    To provide access to the teachers in your school, you must log onto OOARS, add them as teacher users and assign a password to each teacher. Teachers will receive an automated e-mail with their login information and should be encouraged to change their password after logging in for the first time.

  14. The student rosters do not match the current roster of my school. Is there a problem?

    The rosters in OOARS are based on the pre-ID information for each test administration. The students shown have not been re-rostered. Authorized users may re-roster students into online “classes” based on their actual class roster or group students based on other identifiers (e.g., students who are also on athletic teams). For more information on how to roster students in OOARS, log in and click [Help] to access the online Help Guide.

  15. How do I contact support for this Web site?

    For additional support with the Ohio Portal, please call the Ohio Help Desk at 1-888-944-5001, e-mail OHHelpDesk@air.org or click the [User Support] button at the bottom of every page

  16. How do I exit this Web site?

    If you are using a computer with Windows, click the [X] in the upper right-hand side of your screen. If you are using a Mac, click the red circle in the upper left-hand side of your screen.

Glossary of Terms

Benchmark: Key checkpoints at the end of a grade-band that monitor progress toward academic content standards.

Constructed response question: Questions that require the test taker to express the answer in his or her own words.

Content standard: What students should know and be able to do; the overarching goal and theme.

Cut score: The raw or scaled score required to reach a performance level such as basic, proficient, accelerated or advanced.

Indicator: What students should know and be able to do at each grade level; a checkpoint that monitors progress toward the benchmarks.

Raw Score: The number of points a student earned by answering questions correctly on a test.

Scaled score: A number calculated from the raw score that is used to communicate test results and compare from year to year.