Frequently Asked Questions About West Virginia's Assessment Program

Posted: February 22, 2001
WEST VIRGINIA STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM  

Norm Referenced Testing: Most Frequently Asked Questions  

Updated 2-21-01  

SECTION I GENERAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS NORMED-REFERENCE TESTING  

SECTION II SPECIAL EDUCATION AND 504 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS  

SECTION III ELEMENTARY (K-2) QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS  

GENERAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS NORMED-REFERENCE TESTING  

1. WHICH STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE THE STANFORD ACHIEVEMENT TEST NINTH EDITION?  

All students in grades 1-11, except those whose IEP’s specify otherwise, will participate in the State Assessment Program. Kindergarten students will take the Metropolitan Readiness Test.  

2. DO OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS ENROLLING IN WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOLS NEED TO TAKE THE TEST?  

If a student has spent any part of this academic year in an out-of-state school, that student should be tested but the scores should not be aggregated with the rest of the students. This can be done by filling in the bubbles in the Special Codes area. Fill in the bubbles under “Other” and “Nonstandard.”  

3. WHAT CONSTITUTES TOTAL BASIC SKILLS ON THE SAT-9?  

Total Reading, Total Mathematics and Language. Spelling and Study Skills are not included. (In grades 9, 10 and 11, only one test is given in Mathematics.)  

4. WHAT GRADES WILL BE INCLUDED IN ACCREDITATION?  

Grades 3-11.  

5. ARE STUDENTS ALLOWED TO USE CALCULATORS?  

Students may use calculators ONLY on the problem solving portion of the mathematics test in grades 4-11. (It is an option; students who have never used calculators should not be made to use them on the test. Calculators MAY NOT BE USED on mathematics procedures.)  

6. WHO PROVIDES CALCULATORS?  

The school is responsible for providing calculators.  

 

7. IS THERE A PARTICULAR KIND OF CALCULATOR THAT MUST BE USED?  

Any calculator the students have been using in class and with which they are familiar may be used. They should be able to perform all functions as required by the Instructional Goals and Objectives.  

8. MAY SCRAP PAPER BE USED?  

Yes. Scrap paper may be used during the mathematics tests and for taking notes on the listening test. Scrap paper should be collected at the end of the testing session to help protect the security of the test. BEGINNING IN GRADE 9, IT WOULD BE HELPFUL IF STUDENTS HAD SCRAP GRAPHING PAPER.  

9. ARE RULERS NEEDED?  

Yes. Rulers are needed that measure down to 1/8" and in centimeters in grades 1-11.  

10. DO THE SUBTESTS HAVE TO BE GIVEN IN ORDER?  

The subtests may be given in any order as long as time limits and administration procedures are observed.  

11. BESIDES THE TEST BOOKLETS, ANSWER SHEETS, AND ADMINISTRATION MANUALS, WHAT ANCILLARY MATERIALS ARE BEING PURCHASED BY THE WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION?  

Technical Report - one per county Norms Booklets - one spring norms booklet for each county Practice Tests - for students in grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 Guide for Classroom Planning - one set per county Compendium of Instructional Objectives - one per county  

12. DOES THE WVDE PURCHASE THESE MATERIALS EVERY YEAR?  

Only the Practice Tests.  

13. WHAT MAY COUNTIES PURCHASE?  

Practice Tests for grades 5-8 (9, 10, and 11 are not available) Guide for Classroom Planning Strategies for Instruction Compendium of Instructional Objectives Preview for Parents Key Links Understanding Test Results  

14. WILL THE WVDE PROVIDE PRACTICE TESTS FOR ALL STUDENTS EACH YEAR?  

Practice tests for the Stanford 9 will be provided each year by the WVDE for students in K-4. (Counties may purchase practice tests for Grades 5-8.)  

15. EVEN THOUGH THE ADMINISTRATION MANUAL SUGGESTS TESTING ON 3 TO 5 CONSECUTIVE MORNINGS, MAY THAT BE ALTERED?  

The schedule may be adjusted and should meet the needs of individual students and schools, as long as tests and make-up tests are completed within the testing window with make-ups the next week if necessary. IT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR HIGH SCHOOLS TO TEST IN ONE DAY PROVIDING SUFFICIENT BREAKS AND ROTATING LUNCHES ARE SCHEDULED. THE STATE DEPARTMENT DOES NOT RECOMMEND ONE DAY TESTING, BUT NEITHER DOES IT OPPOSE IT. IT IS A COUNTY AND SCHOOL DECISION.  

16. IS SCORING OF THE SAT-9 BASED ON THE NUMBER RIGHT OR THE NUMBER RIGHT FROM WHAT IS ATTEMPTED? IS IT AN ADVANTAGE OR DISADVANTAGE TO “GUESS?”  

Scoring is based on the number of right answers. While random marking is not recommended, students are encouraged to complete all questions because any question that is left blank will be counted wrong.  

17. WHEN THE SAT-9 RESULTS FROM GRADES 3-11 ARE REPORTED IN THE WV REPORT CARD, WILL THE SCORES BE THE MEAN PERCENTILE?  

The mean percentile from the SAT-9 will be reported in the WV Report Card for grades 3-11. Grades 1 and 2 scores will not be reported in the WV Report Card.  

18. HOW SOON MAY TEST ADMINISTRATION MANUALS BE GIVEN TO TEACHERS?  

Test administration manuals will be mailed to the county test coordinator in March. Test administration manuals are to be sent to the schools no sooner than one week prior to the testing date and may be given to teacher examiners. Answer sheets and student test booklets must be given to the examiner on the first day of test administration. Principals and teachers must be reminded to honor test security procedures.  

19. MAY THE FORM T TEST BE GIVEN TO INDIVIDUAL CLASSES AND NOT THE ENTIRE GRADE LEVEL?  

Yes, but the County must make the decision to purchase the necessary quantities of Form T and pay for the scoring. The WVDE will not provide these tests or do the scoring.  

20. MAY CERTAIN PORTIONS OF THE FORM T TEST BE GIVEN TO CLASSES FOR DIAGNOSTIC PURPOSES AND USED AS A PRETEST?  

Yes. Test security procedures must be maintained.  

21. CAN TEACHERS DISCUSS WITH STUDENTS THE CONCEPTS MISSED ON FORM T?  

Teachers may discuss skills or concept deficiencies, but not specific test items missed. Specific questions should not be reread to students. Teachers should not even have the Form T test in front of them during the discussion time. Do not teach from the test. The focus should be on the lack of knowledge or skills indicated by the reports. Test security must be maintained.  

22. ARE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS TO BE USED ON THE ANSWER SHEETS?  

Any assessment administered under the direction of the WVDE does not require that students enter their social security number. The WVEIS student number should be used.  

23. HOW ARE SENIORS TO BE RETESTED FOR WARRANTY THIS YEAR?  

SAT-9 - Form S or Form T may be used. The counties that choose Form S will be able to request WVDE to score them. Seniors should only retest in the basic skill area in which they do not meet the level of warranty proficiency they wish to achieve. For example, if a student had a 51st percentile in mathematics, a 48th percentile in reading and a 52nd percentile in language, a Basic Warranty would require the student to retest only in reading and reach the 50th percentile. If the student wanted a Proficient Warranty, they would have to retest in all three tests and achieve the 70th percentile.  

24. WHEN DOES THE NEW WARRANTY PROFICIENCY LEVEL/S OF THE 50TH OR 70TH PERCENTILE BECOME EFFECTIVE?  

The new warranty proficiency level/s apply to students entering the 9th grade in the fall of 1998 and is effective upon their graduation from high school.  

25. THE ADMINISTRATION MANUAL SUGGESTS THAT THE DIRECTIONS BE READ VERBATIM. MAY TEACHERS ADD ANYTHING?  

Teachers may ONLY supplement the DIRECTIONS for clarification. Help on specific test items during the testing is not permitted.  

 

 

26. WHAT ABOUT THE TESTING OF HOME-BOUND STUDENTS?  

If home-bound students participate in the Statewide Assessment Program, they are to be assessed at the school or alternate test site. Participating home-bound students are required to follow all statewide testing guidelines and procedures. Home-bound students unable to participate at the home school or alternate test site are not required to be tested.  

27. CAN 3RD GRADERS TAKE BREAKS BETWEEN PORTIONS OF THE READING TEST SINCE THE TIME IS QUITE LONG FOR 3RD GRADERS?  

No. This would violate standardization procedures.  

28. WHAT ABOUT TESTING ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION STUDENTS? (Policy §2418 - 6.1.6)  

All students enrolled in the alternative education programs, except those participating in the West Virginia Alternate Assessment, shall participate in the Statewide Assessment Program. The test scores for these students shall be counted in the results of the home school of referral. Please request the alternative education program principal to return answer sheets to the home school of referral.  

29. SHOULD HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENTS BE TESTED?  

Parents/guardians of home-schooled students shall notify the County Test Coordinator if they CHOOSE to have their children participate in the Statewide Assessment Program in the public schools of the county in which they reside. Home-school students will be assigned a school or testing site to report for testing. Participating home-schooled students are required to follow all statewide testing guidelines and procedures.  

30. ARE TEACHERS REQUIRED TO SIGN TEST SECURITY AGREEMENTS?  

The Department of Education does not require teachers to sign a test security agreement but does require the principal to review the Testing Code of Ethics and security procedures with all teachers. County regulations may require teachers to sign test security agreements.  

31. HOW DO THE SCHOOLS OF THE PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL (WHEELING- CHARLESTON DIOCESE) PARTICIPATE IN THE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM?  

Private and parochial schools are required to notify the Office of Student Services and Assessment as to the assessments in which they wish to participate (as per memo of 9/1/2001 to all private school principals and Sister Mary Lou Palas at the Diocese). The Office of Student Services and Assessment will send the materials for the private and parochial schools who have registered with us to the County Test Coordinator with the public school materials.  

32. WHAT IS DONE WITH ANSWER SHEETS, GRADES 3-11, THAT ARE NOT USED?  

 

County test coordinator should send all unused answer sheets to the Office of Student Services and Assessment at the West Virginia Department of Education. Bind the unused answer sheets and put them on top of all of the answers sheets that are sent.  

33. IF A COUNTY NEEDS MORE ANSWER SHEETS, WHERE DO WE CALL?  

Call the Office of Student Services and Assessment at the West Virginia Department of Education: (304) 558-2651.  

34. WHAT GRADE LEVEL TEST DOES A STUDENT TAKE WHO HAS BEEN RETAINED?  

The student takes the grade level test determined by his current grade placement.  

SPECIAL EDUCATION AND 504 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS  

(The alternative assessment required in Policy 2340 The Statewide Assessment Program is formally named “The West Virginia Alternate Assessment.”)  

 

1. WHO ARE ELIGIBLE STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES?  

Students who, in accordance with the definitions, eligibility criteria and procedures in State Board Policy 2419: The Regulations for the Education of Exceptional Students, have been determined to have a disability and to need specially designed instruction, (i.e., special education and related services) and an IEP.  

2. WHO IS AN ELIGIBLE 504 STUDENT?  

A student with a Section 504 plan who has been determined to have a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, but does not meet the eligibility criteria under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or State Board Policy 2419: The Regulations for the Education of Exceptional Students.  

3. HOW ARE STUDENTS TESTED WHO ARE NOT WORKING AT GRADE LEVEL BUT DO NOT HAVE AN IEP OR 504 PLAN?  

These students are tested under standard conditions at the grade level to which they are assigned.  

4. WHO MAKES THE DECISION REGARDING HOW A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM?  

Decisions must be made on an individual basis documented on the IEP by the IEP Team and reviewed annually at the IEP review meeting. Decisions regarding the participation of a student who is disabled and has a Section 504 plan must be made by a Section 504 Committee.  

5. WERE SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS USED IN THE NORMING SAMPLE?  

The Stanford Achievement Test was normed using all special education populations who took the test under standard conditions. The special education students used in the norming sample did NOT include: (1) moderately mentally impaired, (2) severe and profound, and (3) students whose IEP modification(s) prevented them from being tested under the prescribed standardized conditions.  

 

6. WHO DETERMINES THE TESTING CONDITIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES?  

The Individualized Education Program Team determines and documents on the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a Section 504 Committee determines and documents on the student’s 504 Plan.  

Students participate in one of the following ways: 1. testing under standard conditions; 2. with accommodations, which maintain standard conditions; 3. with modifications which do not maintain standard conditions; or 4. in an alternate assessment.  

7. *WHAT ARE ACCEPTABLE ACCOMMODATIONS WHICH MAINTAIN STANDARD CONDITIONS:  

The following are acceptable accommodations: • large print or brailled test; • help with bubbling; • having an interpreter sign the directions; and • separate administration under standard conditions. These scores will be aggregated into school, county and state totals.  

8. *WHAT ARE THE MODIFICATIONS WHICH DO NOT MAINTAIN STANDARD CONDITIONS (NON-STANDARD):  

The following are modifications which do not maintain standard conditions: • extended time; • having the test or parts of the test read to the student; • having the tests administered at one grade level lower than the grade in which the student is placed; • allowing breaks between sections of the subtests; and • other instructional modifications that are defined in the IEP that would be appropriate to the assessment process of the child. These scores will NOT be aggregated into the school, county and state totals.  

9. WHAT IF THE IEP TEAM DETERMINES THAT A STUDENT WITH DISABILITIES CANNOT PARTICIPATE IN THE SAT-9 TESTING PROGRAM, EVEN WITH ACCOMMODATIONS AND/OR MODIFICATIONS?  

This decision and a justification, based upon evaluative information, must be documented on the student’s IEP by the IEP Team. Only a small number of students, who have severe disabilities to the extent that they require a functional curriculum that focuses on daily living skills and which is substantially different from the general education core content curriculum, would be unable to participate in the SAT-9 testing.  

* For more detailed information, refer to the department publication Information on the West Virginia Statewide Assessment Program for Parents of Students with Disabilities. All students who meet the participation criteria will participate in the West Virginia Alternate Assessment beginning in the school year 2000-2001. Until then, each county determines how these students will be assessed.  

10. WHICH STUDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE WEST VIRGINIA ALTERNATE ASSESSMENT?  

To be eligible for alternate assessment, the student must: • have a current IEP; • have sufficient current and longitudinal educational performance to apply these criteria; • demonstrate cognitive abilities and adaptive skills which prevent completion of the Instructional Goals and Objectives for West Virginia Schools even with instructional modifications and adaptations; • be unable to apply or use academic skills at a minimal competency level in natural settings when instructed solely or primarily through school-based instruction; • require extensive direct instruction in multiple settings to master and generalize skills necessary for functional application in school, work, home and community environments; and If the student is 14 years of age or older, the student must also: • be unable to complete the graduation standards necessary to earn a regular diploma, even with extended learning opportunities and/or instructional modifications; thus, is working toward a modified diploma. To determine a student’s participation in the alternate assessment, the IEP Committee must: • agree that the student cannot participate in the West Virginia Statewide Assessment Program, norm-referenced component, even with appropriate accommodations and/or modifications, and state the reasons why; • agree that the student meets all of the participation criteria for alternate assessment, and • document the student’s participation in the alternate assessment on the IEP.  

11. WHAT IS THE WEST VIRGINIA ALTERNATE ASSESSMENT?  

The West Virginia Alternate Assessment is an approach that will gather performance information on the progress of students with severe disabilities who cannot participate in the SAT-9. Each student will be assessed on an individual basis through performance demonstrations in real world situations and settings. Data will be collected using a skill and performance level inventory and work samples referenced to the Instructional Goals and Objectives for West Virginia Schools.  

 

12. ARE SPECIAL EDUCATION SCORES AGGREGATED IN WITH THE SCHOOL, COUNTY AND STATE TOTALS?  

The scores of students tested under STANDARD CONDITIONS WILL BE aggregated with the scores of all other students. The scores of students tested under STANDARD CONDITIONS WITH ACCOMMODATIONS WILL BE aggregated with the scores of all other students. The scores of students tested with MODIFICATIONS WILL NOT BE aggregated with the results of other students. If modifications are made, then nonstandardized conditions have occurred and students’ scores cannot be aggregated into school, county or state totals.  

13. WHAT SCORE REPORTS WILL STUDENTS GET WHO DO PARTICIPATE UNDER STANDARD CONDITIONS?  

All students tested will receive the same score reports (i.e., individual student data, percentile, stanine).  

14. WHERE CAN WE GET K-12 LARGE PRINT OR BRAILLE VERSIONS?  

All requests for grades 3 -11 large print or braille test booklets should go through the Office of Student Services and Assessment. The Office of Student Services and Assessment will send the test coordinator all test booklets that were requested to date at the same time we send your other testing materials. Please note the American Printing House for the Blind does not provide the abbreviated versions of SAT-9 in large print or braille for K - 2.  

15. CAN A STUDENT WITH DISABILITIES BE TESTED ON THE SAT-9 AT A GRADE LEVEL LOWER THAN HER/HIS ACTUAL GRADE LEVEL?  

Off-level testing is a restrictive modification that should only be used with a small number of students with disabilities. This decision must be made, on the basis of evaluation and performance information, by the IEP Team and documented on the student’s IEP. The test shall not be more than one grade level below the student’s actual grade level.  

16. LOGISTICALLY, HOW DOES A SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER TEST 10 KIDS AT THE SAME TIME WHO ARE TAKING DIFFERENT LEVEL TESTS AND WHO NEED DIFFERENT MODIFICATIONS OR ACCOMMODATIONS?  

Logistically, the school determines how staff will be assigned to administer the test appropriately to all students. Other staff may need to be assigned to administer the test to some special education students or a different schedule may need to be used.  

17. HOW CAN A SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENT RECEIVE A WARRANTY?  

By testing under standard conditions at grade level. Current policy does not allow a different definition in the IEP.  

ELEMENTARY (K-2) QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS  

1. WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED SIZE OF THE GROUP FOR GIVING THE METROPOLITAN READINESS TEST (MRT)?  

The administration manuals suggest that the group be no larger than 15.  

2. MAY PARENTS/GUARDIANS HELP MONITOR IN THE KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOMS?  

If parents/guardians are in the classroom on a regular basis, these same parents/guardians could serve as monitors.  

3. WILL THERE BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS TO REVIEW AN EQUIVALENT FORM OF THE MRT AS WE HAVE DONE WITH FORM T OF THE SAT-9?  

There is no available equivalent form. Objective statements from the MRT are available. Teachers will also receive a practice test for each student.  

4. WILL THE KINDERGARTEN SCORES GO ON THE PERMANENT RECORD AND WILL WE GET LABELS FOR THEM?  

No, the scores will not go on the permanent record. There will be no labels. It is the position of the West Virginia Department of Education that the results be used for instructional and diagnostic purposes at the school level.  

5. CAN THE MRT BE SPACED OUT OVER THE FIVE DAYS? IS IT THE JUDGMENT CALL OF THE TEACHER?  

It may be spaced out over the five days, but be consistent in the building.  

6. WILL 1ST AND 2ND GRADE RESULTS BE USED ONLY AT THE SCHOOL LEVEL?  

It is the position of the WVDE that the results from the first and second grades be used for instructional and diagnostic purposes at the school level.  

7. WILL 1ST AND 2ND GRADE RESULTS BE REPORTED BY INDIVIDUAL STUDENT AND BY THE SCHOOL IN A FORMAT THAT WILL BE SENT HOME TO PARENTS/GUARDIANS?  

Students in grades 1 and 2 will have an individual student test record that will be sent home to parents/guardians. THESE SCORES WILL NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE WV REPORT CARD AND WILL NOT BE USED FOR ACCREDITATION PURPOSES.  

 

8. IF 1ST AND 2ND GRADE TESTS ARE DIAGNOSTIC, WHY CAN’T WE TEST FOR READING AND COMPREHENSION AND WAIVE THE TIME CONSTRAINTS?  

Waiving the time limits would violate the standardization and the results would not be valid.  

9. IN GRADES 1 AND 2, CAN ALL READING TESTS BE GIVEN WITH BREAKS AFTER THE STOP SIGNS?  

At the first and second grade levels, there may be breaks between the sections of the reading test. For grades one and two, the reading tests are broken into sections with a sample before each section. Breaks could be given at this time - grades one and two only. Breaks should be about fifteen minutes.  

10. CAN NUMBER LINES BE KEPT ON THE DESKS OF STUDENTS OR SHOULD THEY BE REMOVED? SAME QUESTION RELATIVE TO OTHER MATERIALS THAT ARE UP AROUND THE ROOM (I.E., MULTIPLICATION CHARTS, ETC.)?  

Anything such as multiplication tables, number lines, etc., that have been a part of the classroom all year should be kept where they have been all year.  

11. WILL 1ST AND 2ND GRADE TEST BOOKLETS CONTAIN ALL SUBTESTS (AS IN FORM T) OR ONLY READING, MATH, LANGUAGE AND LISTENING?  

The first and second grade students will take the abbreviated form which will only include reading, language, math and listening.  

12. CAN UNUSUAL NAMES ON THE TEST BE READ TO STUDENTS OR PRONOUNCED FOR THEM?  

No. Help may not be given on specific questions. What the teacher may say to the students when giving the general directions is, “You might see proper names you do not know. They might be Spanish names, etc.”  

13. MAY STUDENTS TAKING TESTS IN GRADES 1 AND 2 WRITE IN THE TEST BOOK MARGINS?  

Yes. Make sure there are no stray marks near the answers.  

14. DOES THE COUNTY TEST COORDINATOR SEND COMPLETED 1ST AND 2ND GRADE TEST BOOKLETS FOR PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS WITH THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO HARCOURT BRACE?  

Yes.  

15. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH TEST BOOKLETS FROM GRADES 1 AND 2 THAT ARE NOT USED?  

They should be destroyed. If you cannot do this, place them in a box and send them to the Office of Student Services and Assessment.

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