Gifted Assessment List Problems— The Ohio Department of Education released its list of approved assessments on Monday, June 18. The list is the first time that all assessments in Ohio are consolidated on one list including those for gifted assessment. In fact, the process for compiling the assessments was altered by excluding any outside gifted assessment experts to participate on the workgroup that approved the assessments. OAGC raised concerns about the process several weeks ago to State Superintendent DeMaria and the State Board of Education. Mr. DeMaria indicated in his response that our concerns were unwarranted and the gifted identification process would not be compromised or denigrated. Unfortunately, the new list that was released on Monday has several problems that are hugely problematic for the appropriate screening and identification of gifted students in Ohio. These issues include the following:
1.No available assessments for the identification of creativity thinking and visual/performing arts. Not only are there are no assessments, according to the ODE FAQ, districts are not allowed to use the approved assessments from the list from January of 2018 to be used until new assessments are approved. No timeline has been provided for when that might happen.
2.No available assessments for the identification of students in high school.Again, past instruments that were approved are no longer available to districts.
3.Very limited assessments approved for individual achievement and cognitive testing. This is highly concerning as it may limit the ability to identified twice-exceptional and other under-represented student populations. Many districts have already purchased these tests that are no longer going to be allowed for use, which causes considerable financial difficult at the district level.
4.The inclusion of a test for identification which has previously been rejected as it has not been validated using other norm-referenced tests used for gifted identification.In the past, when inappropriate tests were included as identification instruments, students were identified as gifted when it is likely they should not have been.
5.The broad allowance for use of MAP across all grade levels despite the publisher indicating specific grade alignment to specific versions of the test. AnNWEA representative has verified that the company requested very specific approvals for use of MAP for gifted identification, namely the use of MAP Primary for grades K-1 and MAP 2-5 and 6+ for grades 2 and up. This is based on their technical data, and to allow the use of MAP Primary for identification in grade 2 may lead to inappropriate identification of students.
6.Inconsistent approval of instruments for pre-screening.Previously, any instrument approved for identification was also approved for pre-screening. However, this list does not permit some instruments to be used for pre-screening, thus inappropriately giving the impression that those approved for both pre-screening and identification are more robust tools.
The solutions to these issues in the short term are relatively simple:
- Allow the use of assessments available on the January, 2018 listof approved gifted assessments be utilized for creative thinking (which is required for whole-grade testing), visual/performing arts, and high school assessment until new assessments can be approved.
- Allow a 12 to 18-month grace period of at least for old assessments to be used so that districts can plan in advance to purchase new assessments.
- Remove the previously rejected assessment now included on the list for gifted identification and return it as a pre-screening tool until the publisher can provide appropriate validation studies.
- Provide specific guidance on test version, grade level use, and qualifying scores as requested by publishers, incompliance with the law, and as reported on past versions of the approved instrument list.
- Mark all tools approved for identification as approved for pre-screening.
OAGC President, Dr. Colleen Boyle, communicated our concerns with Mr. DeMaria and the State Board of Education in an email on June 17, 2018. As of today, we have received no response. If this situation will affect your district, you may want to contact your state board of education representative (or all of them). Here is a list of State Board of Education members with their contact information:
If you only want to contact your own state board representative, please refer to the map at the bottom of the following page: http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members.
SB216 – Brief Update– SB216 (Huffman), the education deregulation bill, passed out of the House Education and Career Readiness Committee last night and is expected to be passed by the full Ohio House later today. A number of amendments were added to the legislation, including one that incorporates, most of, if not all of HB707, a community school reform bill that was introduced last week and has had no hearings for witness testimony. One very welcome amendment was offered by Rep. Dan Ramos (D) to exclude language requiring students to pay for half of textbooks in College Credit Plus courses. This amendment was accepted unanimously by the committee. Unfortunately, an amendment that would have required only visual and performing arts teachers with a K-12 multi-license to teach in the visual and performing arts areas was tabled, apparently at the request of the Ohio Department of Education. OAGC will do a full review of the bill once it is available in final form.