CETE Assessment Program Collaborates with ODE during COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed the way we conduct our daily lives, from shopping to work to education, including state testing of 150,000 students attending Ohio’s career-technical education centers.

CETE’s long-standing work with the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Career-Technical Education (ODE-CTE), dating back to the 1980s, includes developing tests and administering them to students; first using paper assessments, and then through a sophisticated, online system. Usually, as schools complete end-of-course testing, those test scores are downloaded from WebXamTM and then provided to the local districts for reporting back to the state Education Management Information System (EMIS) system. This process was interrupted by the pandemic and the subsequent stay-in-place order.

Social distancing prevented students from attending classes in-person and completing end-of-course testing. Career-technical education (CTE) courses require hands-on experiences, such as automotive repair or construction trades. With the dangers of the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders, the schools moved to online instruction and closed their facilities, which required innovation for reporting testing and grades.

Leah Amstutz heads ODE-CTE as the State Director.  After deliberations with CETE staff and with their partners at the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), the office announced the following updates for 2020. Course grades from local districts would be reported to WebXam™ and used instead of test scores for college credit where available and graduation in the coming years. For each course completed, students will have a letter grade or pass/fail indication. Student grades will be converted to percentages, using historical data maintained by CETE and EMIS. This process will allow for reporting at state and federal levels to operate similarly to how it has in years past.  In collaboration with ODE/ODHE and EMIS, the IT group of the CETE assessment program worked quickly to set up this reporting feature through WebXamTM, allowing teachers and districts to upload student grading data. Also, CETE participated in ODE-hosted webinars to facilitate training for those responsible for inputting this data, ensuring that this change occurs smoothly.

Matt Winkle, Associate Director of ODE-CTE, noted that Richard Huggins, Senior Systems Manager at CETE, was a key member of this strategy. Winkle stated, “Richard has been an important part of our presentation team for the WebXamTM alternative option in response to the COVID-19 school building closure. Richard is a true asset to the educational community, as he provides outstanding customer service and technical support to the Office of CTE and our stakeholders.”

Richard Huggins succinctly describes the impact of this endeavor, “In difficult times such as these, it is important that we respond as a community to our shared challenges in the spirit of collaboration.  WebXamTM is proud to support all Career-Technical students, teachers, administrators and stakeholders in the state of Ohio by leveraging the strengths of our platform to meet the challenges we are faced with today and in the future.”

When things are uncertain and ever-changing, the quick thinking and flexibility of both CETE and ODE have allowed for collaboration that benefits both students and teachers. The result is also the strengthening of the long-term cooperation between ODE and CETE.

For more information, please visit the ODE website.

WebXam Releases the March 2020 Newsletter

Released March 24, 2020, the March newsletter featured topics on:

  • News About Important Deadlines
  • April 3rd Teacher Review Cancelled
  • Construction Technologies Item-Writing Workshops
  • Pretesting for Construction in Fall 2020
  • Validation for Construction Technologies
  • We’re item-writing for Health Sciences Next Year – WE WILL NEED YOU

An archived version of this email newsletter is available here.

WebXam Releases the February 2020 Newsletter

Released February 24, 2020, the February newsletter featured topics on:

  • Teacher Review Workshops
  • Testing Accommodations Survey
  • Share Your Expertise – Participate in Upcoming Item-Writing Workshops
  • Pretesting for Construction in Fall 2020
  • Welding Performance Assessment
  • Validation for Construction Technologies

An archived version of this email newsletter is available here.

WebXam Releases the January 2020 Newsletter

Released January 16, 2020, the January newsletter featured topics on:

  • Winter Pretest Window
  • Pretesting for Construction in Fall 2020
  • Share Your Expertise – Participate in Upcoming Item-Writing Workshops
  • Teacher Review Workshops for 2020
  • Validation for Construction Technologies
  • Professional Development Offerings
  • CTE Program and Assessment Matrix
  • About the Tests

An archived version of this email newsletter is available here.

WebXam Releases the December 2019 Newsletter

Released December 15, 2019, the December newsletter featured topics on:

  • Winter Pretesting Window Opens January 2, 2020.
  • Posttesting Reminders
  • Share Your Expertise – Participate in Upcoming Item-Writing Workshops
  • Teacher Review Workshops Now Available

An archived version of this email newsletter is available here.

WebXam Releases the November 2019 Newsletter

Released November 14, 2019, the November newsletter featured topics on:

  • WebXam Announces Release of New Pathway Practice Tests for 2019-2020 Project Year
  • DC and AC Electronic Circuits (175011) Available for Retake
  • WebXam User’s Workshop Recordings Available
  • Share Your Expertise – Participate in Upcoming Item-Writing Workshop
  • Revised Test Blueprints are Available
  • Upcoming Teacher Review Workshops

An archived version of this email newsletter is available here.

WebXam Releases the September 2019 Newsletter

Released September 10, 2019, the September newsletter featured topics on:

  • Fall Pretesting Window is Closing 9/13/19
  • Posttesting Window Opens in October
  • WebXam User’s Workshop on 10/9/19
  • Welding Validation Survey
  • Share Your Expertise – Be a SME!
  • Teacher Review Workshops

An archived version of this email newsletter is available here.

Now Recruiting for Item-Writing in Construction

African American woman wearing green shirt and yellow construction hat working with tools on carpentry project.

The Assessment Services Team at CETE has begun the process of developing the calendar for the item-writing workshops in the 2019-2020 school year. These item-writing workshops are designed to create new test items in specified subjects which become newly developed exams delivered to CTE students using WebXam, the online testing portal used by CTE educators. These workshops and WebXam technical support are conducted in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).

For the 2019-2020 school year, the Assessment Services team will host item-writing workshops for test development by subject-matter experts (SMEs) in the career field of Construction Technology to develop item banks for about 30 courses across 3 different pathways.

Participation by subject-matter experts (SMEs) is the most important element of test development and delivery. New test items do not get written without the knowledge, expertise, and participation of SMEs – thus our motto, “SMEs are KEY”!  If you are in the Construction Technology career field, please reach out to cete-recruiting@osu.edu for more information, or visit http://go.osu.edu/item-writing.

During test development cycle, the SMEs participate in the following way:

  • SMEs will work with their ODE program specialist to ensure items are created that match the career field competencies and testing blueprints designed by the ODE CTE.
  • The SMEs will develop the test item banks then review the items as a group to ensure they align and are set to the proper performance standards. (this is the item-writing workshop)
  • The item banks are tested and validated by SMEs for accuracy, field tested by students, and then analyzed using psychometrics.
  • The item banks are then released as either pretests, posttests, and practice tests and are maintained by the WebXam Support staff.

Subject-matter experts are essential to the test development process and are the key to the development of quality tests and student success. When you attend an item-writing workshop, you are also provided an opportunity to network with other teachers, earn professional development certificates, and learn quality item-writing skills. Subject-matter experts who attend are also reimbursed (either personally or your school) for hotel and dinner the night(s) before the workshops (applicable if you’re outside a 60-mile radius), and your school is also reimbursed for the cost of your substitute. We also provide lunch while you are here.

To provide our subject-matter experts valid and verified evidence that participation in this process is an element of their professional development, the test-item development process the Assessment Services Team conducts is established by the occupational knowledge-skill assessment sector and statewide CTE programs, backed by data and well researched. Many team members are also active members of either the Association of Test Publishers or the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, to lend credence to the delivery of professional development certification or credentials. Much like continuing education is important to teachers, the CETE Assessment Services Team continuously apply and hone their knowledge and skills in the occupational and educational test-development arena.