• Assessment and School Improvement

    Richard Coleman
    Richard Coleman, Director of Assessment and School Improvement
    34 School Street
    Watkinsville, GA 30677
    706-769-5130 ext. 1304
    Oconee County Schools acknowledges the importance of maintaining a system of student assessment that is of the highest quality. High quality assessments must be administered in a manner characterized by integrity that is ensured only when sound procedures of test security and accountability are implemented. Detailed test security plans and procedures are implemented by the Oconee County Schools. These plans and procedures are designed to be consistent with guidance provided in the Georgia Department of Education Student Assessment Handbook and strict adherence to the Code of Ethics for Educators established by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

    Oconee County Schools implements a train-the-trainer model in disseminating information in regard to student assessment. As part of this training, special attention is paid to issues related to test security and integrity that pertains to all testing programs administered by the system. The System Test Coordinator provides training to School Test Coordinators who, in turn, provide training to test examiners and proctors in regard to the Code of Ethics for Educators established by the Professional Standards Commission. The Code includes several standards pertaining to professional practice regarding student assessment including the following:
    Standard 4: Misrepresentation or Falsification - An educator should exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 3. falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting or erroneously reporting information regarding the evaluation of students and/or personnel;
    Standard 7: Confidential Information - An educator should comply with state and federal laws and local school board/governing board policies relating to the confidentiality of student and personnel records, standardized test material and other information. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 3. violation of confidentiality agreements related to standardized testing including copying or teaching identified test items, publishing or distributing test items or answers, discussing test items, violating local school system or state directions for the use of tests or test items, etc.;
    Standard 9: Failure to Make a Required Report - An educator should file reports of a breach of one or more of the standards in the Code of Ethics for Educators, child abuse (O.C.G.A. §19-7-5),or any other required report. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 2. failure to make a required report of a violation of one or more standards of the Code of Ethics for educators of which they have personal knowledge as soon as possible but no later than ninety (90) days from the date the educator became aware of an alleged breach unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner.
    Standard 11: Testing - An educator shall administer state-mandated assessments fairly and ethically. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. committing any act that breaches test security; and 2. compromising the integrity of the assessment.
    These standards of ethical conduct regarding student assessment, specific examples of practices that are consistent with these standards, and specific examples of violations of ethical behavior are reviewed during training. The consequences of violation of these ethical standards that may include putting into jeopardy the professional certification status of violators are reviewed during each training session.

    The System Test Coordinator participates in trainings conducted by the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment of the Georgia Department of Education for each of the assessment programs administered by the state. The System Test Coordinator, in turn, conducts training for the School Test Coordinators that are designated for each school. The overarching goal of these training activities is to provide information so that student testing is conducted with integrity and in a way that establishes confidence that the results are valid and can be used to accurately gauge student achievement and improve instruction. The content of these trainings includes applicable information shared in the DOE training sessions with System Test Coordinators, special information in regard to providing special accommodations, instructions to complete necessary coding of answer documents, specific procedures related to the administration of each assessment that are included in examiner and system/school coordinators’ manuals, information in regard to the training of examiners and proctors, and other pertinent information. Also included in each of these test specific training opportunities is information in regard to test security and professional practice. Topics covered include the secure storage and handling of test materials, instructions for maintaining assessment integrity (i.e. prohibition of electronic devices and other materials during testing, removing or covering instructional materials that may be displayed in classrooms, maintaining a classroom environment conducive to testing, etc.), a review of possible testing irregularities/invalidations, guidelines to avoid testing irregularities, procedures to report testing irregularities, and a review of professional ethics as it relates to student assessment.School Test Coordinators, in turn, provide training at schools for test examiners and proctors that includes this and other information pertaining to specific testing procedures for the particular school.