Hamilton City Schools

ESL Newsbrief - January 2016

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In previous years, Ohio's annual English language proficiency test (OTELA) was administered between mid-January and early March. The OTELA assessment has been replaced with the Ohio's English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA), which is based on the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century Consortium's ELPA 21 Standards. Ohio is a member of this consortium, and the ELPA 21 Standards are known as the Ohio English Language Proficiency Standards in Ohio. The new testing window for the OELPA Assessment will be between February 29 - April 22, 2016. The OTELA (old tests) was a paper-based assessment, but almost all of the OELPA (new tests) will give online through the AIR or OCBA Assessment Portal and will require headsets. The writing component of OELPA Assessments for Grades K-1 will be administered with a paper test. Like the OTELA, the new OELPA tests (Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing) are a suite of 4 assessments. ODE estimates each individual OLEPA Assessment will take students 90 minutes to take, but some will finish early and others will take more time.

ODE reports that the new OELPA Assessment is interactive for students; reduces turnaround time on reporting results; improves efficiency of data collection and management; increases security of test content and student data; and reduces administrative burdens on school and district staff members.

In August 2016 there will be a screener to identify students as English language learners. More information will be forthcoming.

Please visit the OELPA FAQ for information on:

The Pre-ID file layout and Pre-ID Guidance Document are posted on the Portal under theOELPA folder. Please use the Pre-ID layout to register students.


For more information on the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment, contact Paula Mahaley at paula.mahaley@education.ohio.gov or (614) 466-0217. For information on technology for the OELPA, contact Kirk Ross at kirk.ross@education.ohio.gov or (614) 995-4144. For information on accessibility and linguistic supports, contact Andrew Hinkle at andrew.hinkle@education.ohio.gov or (614) 644-7304.

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OELPA Practice Items are now available on ODE's Assessment Portal (aka AIR, OCBA, or OST Portal). Please have your ESL Students use these items to familiarize themselves with the upcoming OELPA Assessments. You can also use these assessments to ensure that your headsets are working properly.
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Earlier this year, headsets were distributed to ESL staff members to use with Rosetta Stone. These same headsets will be used for the OELPA Assessment for the Speaking Test. Headphones or headsets can be used for the Listening, Reading, and Writing portions of the OELPA Test. ESL STAFF MEMBERS WILL CHECK OUT ADDITIONAL HEADSETS FOR THEIR BUILDINGS AT THE FEBRUARY 22, 2016 ESL MEETING AT THE HCSD BOARD OF EDUCATION.
Paper copies for the Grades K-1 Writing portion of the OELPA Assessments will be distributed on February 22, 2016, at the ESL Meeting at the HCSD Board of Education (if they delivered to the district in time). THE WRITING SECTION OF THE OELPA ASSESSMENTS FOR GRADES K-1 IS THE ONLY PART OF THE TESTS TO BE ADMINISTERED ON PAPER. All other sections (Reading, Writing, and Listening) of the test for Grades K-1 will be taken on a computer / Chromebook. ALL OTHER GRADE LEVELS WILL TAKE THE SPEAKING, LISTENING, READING, AND WRITING PORTIONS OF THE OELPA ASSESSMENTS ONLINE.
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Pages 15-17 of Ohio's Accessibility Manual Outlines the recommended accommodations for English Language Learners at varying English language proficiency levels. The accommodation manual and practice test question for AIR Test Items, including the OELPA Assessments are or will be accessible through Ohio's State Test Portal (shown below).
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Interpreter Services

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We are in the process of scheduling interpreters for the Spring OGT (for Junior and Senior ELL's that still have to pass one of the OGT assessments) and the Spring (April - May) AIR Assessments for Grades 3 -12 for Math, Science and Social Studies. We would like to have the Spring Test Schedule for ELL's completed by Febrary 19th, so that we can secure interpreters for the OGT and AIR Assessments. Please keep in mind that Ohio's English Language Proficiency Assessments (OELPA) has a testing window that overlaps the OGT and AIR Assessments (February 29th - April 22nd).

If your building needs interpreter services for upcoming Parent / Teacher Conferences, please work with your building's ESL Teacher and/or contact Corbin Moore to schedule times. We typically cover Spanish translation with district staff and contract for other languages with Global 2 Local. The earlier we get requests from the building, the better we can serve your interpreter needs.

The ESL Staff will be meeting at the School Board for one-day profession development trainings on the following dates this Fall:
  • February 22 - OPELA Assessment Training by HCESC (Date could change)
  • May 16 - ESL Department End-of-Year Meeting and ELLevation Training