Social Studies Level Up

Preparing for Ohio's State Tests Weekly Bulletin

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Preparing for Ohio's State Tests: Week 5

This is the fifth of seven weekly newsletters dedicated to helping teachers prepare students for Ohio's State Tests in American History and American Government. Each newsletter will feature one of seven identified best practices in teaching for mastery, and highlight some of the available resources.

Note: The practices outlined in this newsletter series are designed to increase standards mastery. They are useful in all courses, not just state-tested courses. While some direct test practice is necessary, the primary emphasis should be unpacking standards in meaningful and rigorous ways. Check out the article, "Beware the Test Prep Trap" by Jay McTighe for more information.


Social Studies Level Up Goals

  • Increase passage rates on Ohio's State Test in American History from 50% to 65%.
  • increase passage rates on Ohio's State Test in American Government from 59% to 70%.


Best Practice 5: Formative Assessment

Key Points of Formative Assessment

  • Formative assessment refers to methods used to conduct in-process evaluations of student understanding during a unit or lesson.
  • Formative assessments inform instructional practice. Use formative assessments to identify concepts and skills students have not yet mastered and to determine areas of focus.
  • An assessment instrument is not inherently formative. An assessment only becomes formative if/when it is used to make decisions about future teaching.
  • Tools such Google Forms, Edulastic, Plickers, or exit tickets allow for quick collection of data that can be used to determine areas for whole group and individual instruction.
  • State test blueprints and test specs can be used to develop formative questions and performance tasks.


Social Studies Teaching & Learning Strategies Page

The Social Studies Teaching & Learning Strategies web page includes Entrance and Exit Ticket activities that can be used for formative assessment.

  • 3-2-1 - This activity helps structure students’ responses to an activity, a reading or a film. It provides an easy way for teachers to check for understanding and to gauge students’ interest in a topic. (Facing History)

  • Concept of Definition Map - Students consider words in light of three properties or attributes: category - what is it? properties - what is it like? and illustrations - what are some examples? (Reading Quest)

  • Exit Slips - The Exit Slip strategy is used to help students process new concepts, reflect on information learned, and express their thoughts about new information. This strategy requires students to respond to a prompt given by the teacher. (Read, Write, Think)

  • Exit Ticket - This exit ticket template asks students to summarize concepts from class by completing a question of "how" or "why" supplied by the teacher.

  • K-W-L Chart - K-W-L is a 3-column chart (Know, Want to Know, Learned) designed to support effective pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading. (Reading Quest)

  • Wraparound (Whiparound) - This strategy provides an efficient way for all students in a classroom to share their ideas about a question, topic or text. (Facing History)


CCS Social Studies Formative Assessment Module

The CCS Social Studies Formative Assessment Module provides resources on quality assessment design, assessment item banks, and assessment builder tools.

Click here to access the web page.


Teacher's Guides to Ohio's State Tests

The Teacher's Guides to Ohio's State Tests in American History and American Government contain the blueprints and test specs for state tests. For each standard, the content limits and response attributes are provided. These test specs are the directions provided by ODE to AIR to guide the development of state tests. Therefore, teachers can use the same directions to develop their own assessments that mirror the content and rigor of state tests.

Download the Teacher's Guides to Ohio's State Tests below.


Performance Levels Descriptors as a Continuum of Learning

The Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) are intended to define what students should know or be able to do at each performance level -- Limited, Basic, Proficient, Accelerated, Advanced. PLDs generally reflect an increased level of thinking required for each category.

CCS Social Studies recently repackaged the PLDs to show better alignment across the learning continuum and to align PLDs with standards and Clear Learning Targets.

These revised documents can be downloaded below.


Creating Formative Assessments in Edulastic

Edulastic is a powerful tool for creating formative assessments. Edulastic has 38 question types, including classic and tech-enhanced question types. Teachers can use the existing banks or create their own assessments. Edulastic syncs easily with Google Classroom, so teachers can deliver and analyze assessments by student and by standard. See the videos below for help getting starting with Edulastic as a formative assessment tool.


Matthew I. Doran

Secondary Social Studies Specialist

Office of Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Division

Southland Center

3700 S. High Street

Suite 125