Testing

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Student Assessment in Georgia Schools

Standardized testing has become a basic component of accountability for students, teachers, administrators, schools, and school systems in Georgia and other states. Communities rely on their schools’ standardized test scores to determine the success of their schools and to compare them to other communities. New industries use test scores as a major factor in selecting locations for new facilities. As a result of national and state accountability ratings, standardized testing has become important to all states.

When tests are properly administered, scored, and interpreted with a high degree of professionalism, all of the aforementioned stakeholders can be guided to make reliable and appropriate decisions. A good testing program provides the following benefits:

1. Students, based on their individual test scores, will know the skills and knowledge they have mastered and how they compare to other students.

2. Parents can evaluate whether their children are obtaining the skills and knowledge they need to be successful during and after their school experiences.

3. Teachers can determine if students have mastered the skills and knowledge needed to advance to the next level and if not what skills and knowledge are weak and should be improved.

4. Community members have a measuring stick to compare year-to-year improvement and to compare local student performance with performances of students in other locations.

Georgia relies on state-mandated assessments as a key component of the state accountability program as well as using the test results to fulfill national requirements for educational accountability. For reliable and valid reporting, tests must be administered fairly and ethically. In the pursuit of fair and ethical testing for all stakeholders of Georgia, the following areas shall be addressed before, during, and after testing.

Test Security – Test materials should be secured before, during, and after testing and scoring to ensure fair assessment of all students.

Test – The test should reflect the curriculum being taught, and should be developmentally appropriate for the age and level of the test-taker. Teachers should be trained on proper administration procedures and testing practices.

Test Administration – Policies and procedures should be developed to implement fair and ethical testing procedures and practices. All eligible students should be assessed.

Test Data – Test scoring should be reliable and valid. Test data interpretation shall be appropriately given to stakeholders. Curriculum improvement should be guided by adequate data analyses.

Georgia Student Assessment Program Responsibilities

Standardized tests results are the basis for many reports and accountability measures. Because of the priority in national and state expectations, the administration of tests shall be held to the Code of Ethics. An essential component is that all personnel perform their assigned responsibilities to maintain test integrity and for the process to be appropriately implemented.

CEO/SuperintendentThe CEO/Superintendent has ultimate responsibility and accountability for all testing activities within the local school system.

  • Appoints the System Test Coordinator.
  • Supervises Principals System Test Coordinator to ensure that they fulfill their specific roles and responsibilities for the administration of tests.
  • Maintains contact with System Test Coordinator to become thoroughly informed of all testing activities.

Conducts investigations of reported testing irregularities (e.g. student cheating, unethical professional conduct). Reports unethical professional conduct to the Educator Ethics Division of the Professional Standards Commission. Monitors testing activities in the local school system to guarantee compliance with regulations established by the State Board of Education and current legislation.

Informs local board members, parents, and other citizens about requirements pertaining to statewide testing. Ensures that appropriate local personnel attend GaDOE workshops concerning state assessment programs. Reviews and returns certification/verification forms to the Office of Assessment and Accountability at the GaDOE by the due dates. Ensures that Principal’s Certification Forms are completed after each test administration and retained as required. Approves all special administrations. Informs citizens residing within the local system’s area concerning the collective achievement of enrolled students by school and system. Ensures that local calendars are planned so that all tests are administered according to the published testing calendar.

System Test Coordinator

– Coordinates all test administration activities within the school system.

– Serves as liaison between the system and the GaDOE for all test administration activities.

– Assumes responsibility for carrying out the approved plan for administration of all tests.

– Furnishes all information and submits all forms required by the GaDOE by specified dates.

– Ensures principals complete the Principal Certification Form for each administration and maintains these forms for five years.

– Orders special format tests (Braille or large print).

– Receives test materials from GaDOE at a designated time and place and maintains them in a secure location.

– Reviews and follows all procedures in all administration manuals and is familiar with administrators’ roles and proctors’ roles.

 – Adheres to test dates, time schedules, and specified instructions set by the GaDOE.

– Ensures that each test setting (room) is suitable, has an assigned examiner, and has the appropriate number of proctors.

– Accounts for all test materials delivered to the school system and for the disposition of specific materials.

– Attends statewide testing program meetings.

– Arranges schedule for staff to monitor schools during testing sessions.

– Trains all system/school personnel involved in test administration, including School Test Coordinators, examiners, proctors, the system Special Education Coordinator (on the administration of the GAA), the system ESOL Coordinator (on the administration of ACCESS for ELs/Alternate ACCESS), and any others who have responsibilities related to testing and/or testing materials.

– Ensures that Principals and School Test Coordinators are aware of and follow the protocols/procedures prescribed in Student Assessment Handbook, testing manuals, and other ancillary materials.

– Maintains a portfolio of all training session materials and rosters of attendees.

– Answers questions of all School Test Coordinators and Principals and makes decisions regarding testing, when appropriate.

– Ensures that School Test Coordinators account for all students in terms of testing requirements.

– Ensures strict test security and reports to the CEO/Superintendent concerning testing irregularities (i.e., student cheating, unethical professional conduct).

– Communicates to the Assessment Administration Division when testing irregularities occur.

– Distributes test results to the CEO/Superintendent and to the schools in a timely manner and ensures that students are informed of the expected date for the return of the test results.

– Interprets test results to school personnel and appropriate others.

– Ensures that local calendars are planned so that all tests are administered according to the state- published testing calendar that provides testing dates for the current and future academic years.

– Ensures that students, parents, and the general public have access to information concerning all test administrations and utilization of test results.

– Works with system personnel to communicate to parents of students with IEPs, IAPs, and EL/TPC plans pertinent information regarding all statewide tests.

– Facilitates the transfer of GAA portfolios when students withdraw from or enrolls in the school system.

System Special Education Coordinator

Acquires and maintains current information on the statewide testing program, including the section for Students with Disabilities, which is found in the Assessing Special Populations section of the Student Assessment Handbook and the Accommodations Manual.

Acquires and maintains current information of IDEA, state rules, and waiver process for students with disabilities.

Provides technical assistance to special education teachers on test administration.

Ensures that all due process rights pertaining to the testing programs are provided for students with disabilities.

Ensures that IEP teams understand the appropriate selection of approved accommodations and the selection of the Georgia Alternate Assessment for state-mandated tests.

Ensures that appropriate documentation is maintained for all students with disabilities.

Ensures that students with disabilities have the appropriate test-taking experience or have been taught test-taking skills prior to taking the tests.

Informs System Test Coordinator of the number of special format tests (e.g., Braille, Kurzweil, or large print) needed to test students with disabilities for all test administrations.

Informs the System Test Coordinator of the number of students who must receive each accommodation allowed by state regulations.

Acquires and maintains current information about the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA).

Discuss the GAA with students and parents/guardians.

Informs parents and students of participation in the GAA and the requirements for graduation and diploma eligibility.

Ensures that the following activities are completed by special education personnel in preparation for all state-mandated assessments.

Discusses the state-required tests with the students and parents/guardians.

Informs IEP students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) of pertinent test information and the role of the IEP team in identifying test accommodations, if any, which the student may require in order to participate.

Discusses with the student and parents/guardians the consequences of the student not passing a state-mandated assessment. Such a discussion should include the state rule (e.g., implications of the Secondary Assessment Transition Plan for high school students, students

must pass the GHSWT to receive a regular diploma, must pass the CRCT/CRCT-M in certain grades and content areas for promotion) and relevant local policy, if any. Document the occurrence of this discussion.

Ensures that all special education teachers have been trained to administer the GAA.

Collaborates with Title III/ESOL colleagues to train the appropriate teachers to administer the Alternate ACCESS for ELs.

System Title III/ESOL Coordinator
Ensures that all assessments and, in certain cases, conferences relating to a student’s ESOL eligibility (Rule 160-4-5-.02) are documented prior to assigning EL or EL-M status.

Acquires and maintains current information on the statewide testing program, including the section on accommodations for EL or EL-M students which is found in the Accommodations section of the SAH.

Acquires and maintains current information of state rules and the deferment/accommodation process for EL or EL-M students.

Provides technical assistance to teachers on test administration.

Ensures that appropriate documentation is maintained for all EL or EL-M students.

Ensures that EL or EL-M students have appropriate test-taking experience or have been taught test-taking skills prior to taking the tests. EL-M students should not be administered the ACCESS.

Informs the System Test Coordinator of the number of students who must receive each accommodation allowed by state regulations.

Ensures that the following activities are completed by EL/ESOL personnel in preparation for all state-mandated assessments:

Discusses the state-required tests with the students and parents/guardians.

Informs EL or EL-M students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) of pertinent test information and the role of the EL/TPC in identifying test accommodations, if any, which the student may require in order to participate.

Discusses with the student and parents/guardians the consequences of the student not passing a state-mandated assessment. Such a discussion should include the state rule (e.g., implications of the Secondary Assessment Transition Plan for high school students, students must pass the GHSWT to receive a regular diploma, students must pass the CRCT/CRCT-M in certain grades and content areas for promotion) and relevant local policy, if any. Document the occurrence of this discussion.

Informs System Test Coordinator of the names of EL students receiving deferments. This list should specify which tests or subtests are subject to deferment.

Trains Title III/ESOL teachers to administer ACCESS for ELLs and collaborates with special education colleagues to train the appropriate teachers to administer the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.

Principal

The Principal has ultimate responsibility and accountability for all testing activities within the local school.

Ensures proper environment for test administration.

Ensures that all testing sites are appropriately prepared: adequate student workspace, proper lighting, good ventilation, sufficient number of desks in good repair, instructional materials (e.g. posters, word walls, etc.) removed or covered, etc.

Ensures that the test accommodations identified in students’ IEPs, IAPs, and

EL/TPC plans are provided for each student as specified.

Ensures that testing sites are free of interruptions during test administration (e.g. intercom messages, visitors, wandering student).

Designates a School Test Coordinator to coordinate the testing program. The School Test Coordinator must hold a PSC-issued certificate.

Assigns personnel to serve as Examiners and Proctors.

Arranges appropriate schedules for teachers who will be Proctors and Examiners and for those who will be teaching other students not involved in testing.

Informs students and parents/guardians about the purpose of testing, dates and times for testing, and expected dates for return of test results.

Creates an atmosphere in which all staff members know that their cooperation is needed and expected for successful test administration.

Advises School Test Coordinator, Examiners, and Proctors if emergency situations arise.

Monitors the administration of test.

Supervises all testing activities to ensure strict test security.

Maintains test materials in a secure location, with restricted access.

Ensures that only staff members who have been trained on the proper management of secure test materials handle such materials.

Notifies the System Test Coordinator of testing irregularities and provides explanation of circumstances.

Ensures that the school calendar is planned so that all tests are administered according to the system’s testing calendar.

Monitors test preparation activities to ensure that secure testing materials are not misused.

Verifies all special education teachers have been trained to administer the GAA.

Verifies all ESOL teachers have been trained to administer the ACCESS.

Verifies all kindergarten teachers have been trained to administer the GKIDs.

Validates the content and procedures of students’ portfolios by signing the GAA validation form.

Reviews and returns the Principal’s Certification Form to the System Test Coordinator after each administration.

School Test Coordinator
Receives test materials from System Test Coordinator and verifies numbers received.

Determines the number of test booklets to be assigned to each testing site and accounts for material distribution and return.

Prepares all testing sites.

Assists Principal in assigning Examiner(s).

Assigns Proctors appropriately in accordance with state guidelines.

Accounts for the security of all test materials during the time the materials are in the building.

Under supervision, ensures the accuracy of student FTE and GTID numbers on each answer document.

Ensures all materials are stored in a secure, locked location with restricted access. Confirms access is restricted by accounting for keys.

Conducts orientation and training sessions for Examiners and Proctors.

Ensures that only staff members who have been trained on the proper management of secure test materials handle such materials.

Adheres to system testing schedule.

Distributes test materials to and collects from each Examiner on the testing days.

Ensures Examiners sign out (date and time) materials each testing day shortly before testing begins each day.

Ensures Examiners return (sign, date, and time) materials immediately after testing each day.

Ensures that a minimum of one certified administrator is present and witnesses the transcription of student responses when/where necessary (e.g. such as when a student has the accommodation of marking answers in the test booklet). Documentation of this process must be retained.

Provides each Examiner with a list of student FTE and GTID numbers.

Gives Examiners extra No. 2 pencils, pens for writing tests, and resource materials, if appropriate.

Accounts for all students in terms of testing requirements.

Notifies Principal and System Test Coordinator of any emergency situation and helps to decide what action needs to be taken.

Conducts, coordinates, and supervises inspection of all completed answer document before delivering them to the System Test Coordinator for the following purposes only: to ensure that the student demographic/identification information is accurate, that necessary coding/labeling is complete, and that documents are in good condition for scanning.

Coordinates and supervises inspection of all completed answer documents before delivering them to the System Test Coordinator.

Completes State Required Codes (SRC) on answer documents.

Counts materials returned from Examiners each day and accounts for all materials distributed each day of testing.

Packages and returns materials to System Test Coordinator according to directions and time line.

Notifies Principal and System Test Coordinator of any testing irregularities and provides explanation of circumstances.

Maintains dated student sign-in/sign-out sheets for each GHSGT administration.

Ensures that students have only one opportunity to test during each window.

Ensures that for any students not currently enrolled in their local school, the following protocol is applied: contacts students’ schools for verification of test eligibility and requires photo ID and maintains photocopy record. The decision to test out-of-system students is a local one. The burden of identification, establishment of eligibility, and record-keeping ensuring score reports are returned to the appropriate school must be borne by the administering school/system.

Examiner (person administering the assessment) – Certified educators

(teachers, counselors, administrators) must administer all assessments.

Educators without Georgia certification from the Professional Standards

Commission may not administer state assessments.

Participates in training.

Reviews and follows all procedures in handling all administration materials.

Counts materials prior to testing and after testing to verify accuracy.

Ensures the security of test booklets while they are in the testing site before, during, and after testing.

Provides No. 2 pencils, erasers, pens for writing tests, and resource materials (if appropriate).

Ensures the accuracy of student FTE and GTID numbers on each answer document.

Follows procedures for testing as given in Examiner’s Manual, including reading all directions to students.

Maintains control of testing situation and keeps students on task. Examiners should actively circulate and monitor students throughout the

testing session(s).

Confirms that all assigned students have entered and bubbled in the test form number correctly if one is required.

Allows no student to leave the test room unless there is an emergency.

Counts and verifies all testing materials each day prior to dismissing students.

With direct administrator supervision, at the conclusion of testing, inspects

answer documents for the following purposes only: to ensure that student

demographic/identification information is accurate, that necessary coding/labeling is complete, and that documents are in good condition for scanning.

Returns all test materials to School Test Coordinators immediately after testing

each day, including special format tests, such as Braille or large print.

Documents the daily receipt (date, time, and number received) of test materials and the daily return of test materials.

Ensures that no content-related instructional materials are displayed in the testing site.

Charts, diagrams, and posters should not be visible. Boards should be free of

any writing.

Proctor

Participates in training.

Assumes responsibility for assigned students.

Monitors a specific area if a large testing site is used.

With Examiner supervision, assists in preparing test materials for distribution to students in a classroom on days of testing.

Ensures that desks are clear of everything except test materials.

With Examiner supervision, assists in distributing and collecting classroom test materials.

With Examiner supervision, answers questions regarding test procedures but does not explain items or answer any questions regarding the content of the test.

Remains in testing site during entire testing time.

With Examiner supervision, observes students during test to monitor that they are:

(a) marking answers completely and correctly;

(b) choosing only one answer per item;

(c) marking answers which have the same number as the corresponding item number in the booklet;

(d) using only specified test materials;

(e) no using calculators unless permitted on specific subtests; and

(f) using appropriate materials such as correct test formats and answer documents. Reports student actions to examiner immediately.

Reports any unusual circumstances to Examiner immediately (e.g. suspicion of cheating).

Circulates among students during testing to discourage misconduct and to be available to answer student questions.

Avoids standing by a student’s desk too long or touching a student, as this may be distracting.

Monitors students with disabilities, 504 students, or EL students who may require closer observation than other students or who need special assistance.

With Examiner supervision, assists in accounting for all classroom test materials (Test materials should be returned to the School Test Coordinator by the Examiner).

Assists the Examiner in maintaining strict test security.